Crane Game Encourages Donations to Help Homeless People in a Very Unique Way

Roughly translated as the Foundation for Street People, the Fundación Gente de la Calle are a charity based out of Chile that specialises in bringing attention to the plight of homeless men and women, and making a difference in their lives. They recently paired with agency Pedro Juan y Diego and ran a campaign to that effect in Chile, that involved dolls, a crane game, and a very strong message.

The Campaign

A typical arcade game is set up on a street in Chile, with one notable difference. Instead of picking up plush toys with a crane, participants are trying to pick up homeless people, who always seem to fall from their grip at the last moment. When participants come to the inevitable loss, a card appears from the machine informing them “A coin does’t get anyone off the streets” and encouraging them to check out Fundación Gente de la Calle, who help homeless people do just that.

Two Reasons It Works

There are two big reasons that Pedro Juan y Diego made the Crane Game work with the audience, and neither is accidental. The first is the use of juxtaposition in delivering the message. Taking participants from a moment of lighthearted fun while they’re playing, to a serious note when the card is delivered, is very effective. When people are happy, they’re more receptive to messages, and this one hits home, hard.

The other reason the campaign works so well is the use of relative ideas. When people see homeless people on the street, especially homeless people begging, they feel they’re doing their part simply by giving up some loose change. The truth is that doesn’t make enough of a difference, and it shouldn’t be the end of the story for charitable givers. By relating the impossible-to-win crane game, which costs a coin, with the impossibility of getting off the street with just a single coin, Fundación Gente de la Calle’s message is clear and powerful.

Does Guilt Succeed?

Although the Crane Game campaign is certainly something we haven’t seen before, it remains a new take on an old technique. The use of guilt in charity marketing and advertising isn’t just widespread, it’s almost synonymous. Decades ago, when people saw the tragedy of poverty and despair on their televisions, they were affected. They stopped to watch, and in many cases were swayed by the images they saw, and how that made them feel.

But a modern audience is not so easily persuaded.

They don’t want to be made to feel guilty, and the emotion rarely exhibits a charitable response unless its sent in a powerful and unique way. The use of juxtaposition and relative ideas do work in this campaign’s favor. However, what remains to be seen is if it works enough that participants will go out of their way to investigate the Fundación Gente de la Calle, and look at how they can help.

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Advertising Agency: Pedro Juan y Diego, Santiago, Chile
Creative Directors: Cristian Seisdedos, Sebastian Salinas
Art Director: Juan Godoy
Copywriter: Jose Muñoz
Illustrator: Celim Caceres
Director: Daniel Molin
Additional credits: Fabian Aviles
Published: November 2014

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