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Poverty Line Prices

Award: Wood Pencil

Wood Pencil / Art Direction / Art Direction for Poster Advertising / 2017

Brief:
San Francisco is a tale of two cities: the haves and the have-nots. Though the average income is $153,000, one of the highest in America, there are still 800,000 families living below the poverty line (with an income of $24,300 or less).

Tipping Point is a nonprofit that helps these families break the cycle of poverty with education, housing, food and support. They challenged us to create an awareness campaign that would generate increased donations for their work during the holiday season.


Solution & Cultural Context:
#PovertyLinePrices was built upon a simple fact: when you earn five times less than average, basic needs are five times harder to afford. To bring this to life, we increased prices in a grocery store by 500%, hijacking conversations surrounding 2016’s biggest shopping weekend.

Our POS, transit and large-format posters led people to a website where they entered their salaries to see how expensive items would feel if they were living below the poverty line. These became personalized social posts.

Location & Scale:
We knew from data where Tipping Point’s potential donors lived. So we placed 40 posters across key sites in San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Our posters ranged in size from billboards to bus shelters to in-store POS displays. These were strategically designed to work contextually with shopping precincts, transit hubs, colleges and drug stores—places where the affluent rub shoulders with the less fortunate to buy (or not buy) their basic necessities.


Insights:
Despite sharing their neighborhoods with families living below the poverty line, many San Francisco residents have no idea what it feels like to struggle.

This disconnection creates a problem: the people with the money to help us address this inequality don’t understand why they need to.

Our strategy was simple: to help the haves understand the struggle of the have-nots by letting them experience what it’s like to have to choose between putting food on the table and paying rent.

  • Poverty Line Prices
  • Poverty Line Prices
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