We’ve all done it. We’re all guilty of it. Yet can we really be blamed for it? We’re busy people. We’re focused on our daily routine. We have things to do. People to meet. Places to go. And so it is without surprise we walk right past homeless people without ever noticing.
Calling attention to this behavior, which partially stems from the idea that if we ignore it, it doesn’t exist or it will go away, the New York City Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter which provides food, shelter and social services, conducted a social experiment to dramatize just how desensitized we have become to the homeless.
The experiment, envisioned by New York ad agency Silver + Partners, features footage of unsuspecting people walking by their family members – siblings, spouses, and relatives – all dressed to appear homeless. The footage was then shown to the unsuspecting people, leaving many speechless and emotionally moved. The experiment called attention to the fact the homeless in New York are so deeply ignored, that family members, posed as the needy, were completely invisible to their own loved ones.
The touching video points to a website, MakeMeVisible, on which photos and videos of those aided by the Rescue Mission are featured in an effort to make people understand the homeless are human just like the rest of us.
Of the project, previously homeless Rescue Mission staff member TJ Hadley said, “I was once treated as invisible on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. I actually saw friends that I had known for years walk by and not recognize me. With this project, we can help make the homeless visible again. We need people to understand that the homeless are regular folks just like you and me. But they’ve fallen on hard times and just need a little bit of help.”
Will you take a closer look the next time you walk by a homeless person?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.