Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.


F*ck The Poor. Do We Have Your Attention?

A charity campaign uses an offensive stance to prove people care.

In September 1980, the Dead Kennedys released Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, an album that opened with a catchy little number called "Kill the Poor." The song suggests getting rid of the less fortunate, along with their tired whining and financial drag on the state, to make a larger statement about how society treats its most disadvantaged citizens.

Now U.K. charity The Pilion Trust is using a similar tactic to encourage people to help. A man stands on busy London streets wearing a sign that says, "Fuck the Poor" and plenty of people stop to berate him and explain why his demonstration is unacceptable. And yet when he changes the sign to "Help the Poor," passersby barely blink an eye.

Publicis executive creative director Andy Bird says The Pilion Trust approached the agency for help after government cutbacks have seen its funding down by 60% and donations from the public down 20%. The charity needed a way of asking for money without having any money for paid media, so they needed something that would get people's attention.

"The idea was based on an observation—we noticed that despite feeling for the homeless we only occasionally stopped to give money," says Bird. "That awful feeling after you’ve walked past either someone collecting for charity or a homeless person—it felt like something we could work with. We all know what the right thing to do is, but how often do we actually do it?"

Add New Comment


  • L Marie Joseph

    The point is trust. I just would not money to a random dude saying help the poor. We care we just rather give the way we want. I rather go to the actual charity and give.

  • "F the poor" will always get attention. It definitely got mine. But on the other hand his presentation for helping the poor isn't convincing. I've seen people scam others to get money by saying they're homeless. Simply wearing a "help the poor" sign isn't going to get you far. Maybe that's why people walk pass him.

    I appreciate the effort in recognizing this issue in society because there definitely is a problem there. I'd be lying if I said that I give money to charities when I see them. But I'd give my utmost attention to those who disrespect the poor especially since I know the feeling of being homeless and living paycheck to paycheck. I'm just wondering what he said to those who questioned him about the "f the poor" sign.