Campaign: Pop Up Slum
Brand: TECHO
Agency: Bravo / Y&R

Shockingly, a quarter of the world’s urban population–863 million people–live in slums, but they’re so far removed from us that the reality of life in a slum is easily ignored.

Luckily there are organisations who are working to improve the conditions of life in slums. TECHO, based in Latin America, is one such organisation. For just $3,000 they will build a house in which a family can call home for up to 40 years. That’s a life-changing impact for the cost of a daily coffee for ten people over three months.

To draw attention to their cause, TECHO decided to bring the cramped, unhygienic conditions of slums to New York. What followed was a typical slum home, recreated inside a Manhattan apartment. Real life house hunters were duped into believing they were visiting a genuine flat for rent. They were met by a volunteer posing as a realtor, who showed them the abhorrent conditions. Naturally the visitors were shocked at what they saw.

The resulting video went viral online, particularly on Facebook, where it notched up half a million views.

It’s the latest in a trend of campaigns that brings the unsuspecting public into face-to-face contact with a social problem; last year the fake gun shop ‘Guns With History’ caused an internet storm with a similar technique.

The power of the Pop Up Slum is its convincing and easy call to action. The site users are invited to click through to is impactful; with powerful imagery and a simple call to action. If enough people follow that action, more Latin Americans could be calling a house a home.