Forever Beta celebrates Big Issue vendors with innovative digital out of home campaign

Forever Beta launched a campaign this week, in partnership with Ocean Outdoor, to support Big Issue vendors after the difficulties they have faced over the last two years.


The “I’m here” campaign draws attention to Big Issue vendors, reconnecting them with their local community using technology. Through these personalized billboards, the campaign lets everyone know when their vendor is at their pitch – giving them the biggest voice possible. If the vendor is busy, customers will be able to buy a magazine from them through the QR code on the digital screen. 

The campaign has been created to specifically draw attention to the fact that vendors are out on streets across the UK earning a living by selling The Big Issue.  

The Big Issue is a social enterprise, which offers self-help and sustainable business solutions that dismantle poverty now and for future generations. Big Issue vendors buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income. 

The campaign, which broke on March 15, was a winner in Ocean’s annual Digital Creative Competition, which celebrates and facilitates new and creative DOOH ideas. 

“I’m here” pilots with three placements around busy Westfield London pedestrian zones. Each screen connects to GPS beacons within a vendors’ jacket.

Whenever the vendor walks close to one of the digital screens, the geolocation technology responds, triggering a supersized version of them on the nearby screen which then points towards where the vendor is. This lets the local community know when they are at their pitch, directing passers-by to pick up their latest copy of The Big Issue.


Paulo Areas, Chief Creative Officer at Forever Beta, said: "The past couple of years have been challenging for The Big Issue, especially for vendors. Our campaign reminds vendors’ communities that they’re still here, in the biggest way possible.”


"We started by redesigning the iconic red Big Issue vest to incorporate a geolocation beacon that allows vendors to interact with outdoor media in a whole new way. Whenever a vendor walks by a billboard, the tech serves a personal message from a giant, video-version of the vendors.


“When a vendor is away from their pitch, we use our billboard to let people know exactly where they are – pointing passersby in the right direction. Every vendor becomes a powerful advertisement, increasing their reach and visibility – and letting everyone know that they can buy this week's copy of The Big Issue from the vendor.”

Nashitha Suren, Group Consumer Revenues Marketing Director for The Big Issue, said: “This is a great campaign that draws attention to our brilliant vendors, who like many others, have gone through an incredibly difficult couple of years. Often, selling The Big Issue is their main source of income. We welcome this opportunity to raise their profile in this innovative way.  If you see one of our vendors, please head over and support them by buying the latest copy of The Big Issue.”


Ocean Outdoor Head of Marketing Helen Haines, said: “Big Issue vendors are an integral part of our communities. This idea is all about helping them to regain their independence. It’s simple, yet brilliant and a worthy winner of our Digital Creative Competition.” 


The “I’m here” pilot campaign has the potential to be rolled out across more major cities in the UK, giving more vendors access to this innovative technology. As digital media becomes an increasingly important part of The Big Issue’s business – from digital subscriptions and QR codes for purchase – the campaign supports the publication as it moves into this new era.


Brand: The Big Issue

Agency: Forever Beta

Chief Creative Officer: Paulo Areas 

Creative Directors: Mark Campion, Lipe Faria

Creatives: James Halladay, Max Sizeland 

Account Manager: May Reinholdsson

Head of Client Services: Patrick Flynn

Head of Creative Services: Sasha Oglanby 

Producer: Bianca Green

Head of Design: Darren Cox 

Designer: Alex Harazim

Editor: Phil Hardy 

Photographer & Filmmaker: Maciek Tomiczek

Camera Operator: Jake Orvington 

Senior Strategist: David Craft 


Media and Production Planning: Ocean Labs

Project Manager: Joseph Banning

Solutions Manager: Xavier Keenan

Media space: Ocean Outdoor


Marketing Director, The Big Issue: Nashitha Suren

Senior Communications & PR Officer, The Big Issue: Cello Dutton-David

Big Issue Vendors: Lawrence Chaser, Louise Mason


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