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The Big Issue is a social enterprise and award winning current affairs and entertainment publication.

It was founded in 1991 by John Bird and Gordon Roddick with the sole aim to help the homeless and people who are vulnerably housed, get back on their feet.

The Big Issue "I'm here" campaign

Their ethos is to help people to help themselves. Official registered vendors can earn a legitimate income by buying stock of the magazine for £1.50 each and then selling it on to the public for £3.

In the UK today, the Big Issue has around 1500 vendors helping them to earn a total of 5.5 million pounds. The magazine is read by over 400,000 people and circulates 83,073 copies every week.

But, like any other business, they must stay up to date with technology and think of new ways of promoting their presence in a crowded marketplace.

So, they recently partnered with advertising agency, Forever Beta to push out a campaign to help their vendors become more visible in post-pandemic times.

Laser cutting GPS tracking pockets for the Big Issues new red jackets

‘I’m Here’ Campaign

The campaign to help vendors’ sell their magazine was thought up advertising agency, Forever Beta. The concept was greatly received but then in 2021 it was brought to life after they won a prize in the charity category for the Digital Creative Competition.

The tech driven campaign is to help vendors become more visible on our busy streets by pointing out exactly where they are located.

By redesigning the iconic red jackets, GPS beacons were cleverly inserted into the lining of a pocket, so when a vendor walks close to the digital display screen, the geo-location responds. Their image is suddenly displayed on the giant screen with a personal message for anyone passing by.

Graphic design for the Big Issue red jackets

As well as letting everyone know where the vendor is standing, a QR code on the screen allows the magazine to be bought digitally, which is an innovative way of helping purchases of the magazine in an ever-increasing cashless society.

Laser cutting and engraving The Big Issue" red jackets

We were delighted to be able to donate our time and laser cutting techniques to this project by helping to make the pocket patches that carry the GPS devices.

This forward thinking campaign helps vendors to increase their presence and reach, by drawing attention to exactly where they are standing.

In post covid times they need as much help as possible, and this is an example of technology helping where it truly matters.

The Big Issue "I'm here" campaign

For more info about the Big Issue go to: