City Calling, the “fastest growing job board in the U.K.,” placed several cardboard signs around London that mimicked the look of a homeless's persons begging spot, complete with blanket, slippers and a dogs water bowl, except there was no homeless person there. The sign read "Fond a Job" and signed off with "CityCalling.co.uk".
Londoners were offended, as usually is the case when guerilla advertising adds to city clutter, but also because they found the ads "crass", and "a desperate attempt to be edgy".
Dozens of people who found the ads to be in poor taste flocked to the companies Facebook page to give them a piece of their mind. A person named Concepta Cassar posted the following reaction:
"Your so-called advertising "campaign" is among the most crass things to feature in visual imagery; to rob the most vulnerable people in society of whatever modicum of dignity they manage to cling to in the face of such hardship by using their plight as an object of supposedly comedic derision is obscene.
Who exactly had your "creatives" hoped to target as a target audience from this base and basic set of images?
Unless it is part of your CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] policy to actively help these people, and your HR policy to seek to train and employ them, then this is nothing but crass exploitation of the poor. Shame on you."
People reacted on twitter as well, with one commenter concluding that "advertising is gross".
Advertising is gross: pic.twitter.com/Zc1mEQ8P5Y
— Ollie Balaam (@0Balaam) September 25, 2015
While people are bombarding City Calling with questions on what they're doing to fight homelessness and skyrocketing rents in London, City Calling have responded with this:
We are a job board that facilitates every individual jobseeker no matter their personal circumstance. We have remained and will remain a free service for both jobseeker and employer. As an organisation, we do endless amounts of charity work throughout the year that certainly does not go unnoticed by those that we help.