Fuck The Poor?



Fuck The Poor?



Charity asks Londoners to put their money where their mouths are in controversial ‘Fuck The Poor’ campaign


7/04/13 – The Pilion Trust, a charity which helps some of the poorest and most vulnerable,has conducted a social experiment on the people of London to see if we really do care about those who are less fortunate.


A man wearing a sign saying “Fuck the poor” was sent out to the streets of the capital as part of a campaign for the charity by advertising agency Publicis. Londoners were secretly filmed taking the man to task for the offensive statement.


Afterwards, the man flipped his sign over so that it read “Help the poor” and he proceeded to ask for donations – but this time people completely ignored him.


The film of the social experiment is being posted on youtube on 7th Apriland will be released in cinemaslater in the month.


The campaign message is: “We know you care. Please care enough to give.”


Savvas Panas, the Chief Executive of the Pilion Trust, said: “As a charity that has been severely affected by the nationwide decrease in charitable donations (20%) and Government cuts (60%).


We understand that some may be shocked by this footage. We are more offended however, that people across the United Kingdom are living in adverse poverty.”


Andy Bird, Executive Creative Director of Publicis said, “The Pilion Trust is a small front line charity without the budget to make itself heard in paid-for media, and also loses out on high street donations, so we helped them to make a film that highlighted the discrepancy between peoples attitude when confronted with injustice and bigotry about poverty, and then their apathy when asked directly to help do something about it – donate.’


26 responses »

  1. I applaud a bit of conscience-pricking as a commercial, I really do. But I wonder whether a message like ‘the charity couldn’t afford an ad agency so we came to the rescue with something that would create a bit of noise’ is really the answer. Maybe that’s because my first ever job was at Publicis this feels very old school. I want it to work, but fear the dependancy on agency compounds lack of supporter involvement.

    If people care but don’t donate, the problem is about going from awareness to action. And maybe the philanthropic model of how causes work with supporters is broken. ‘Give us your money’ is not the same ask as ‘work with us to figure out how we can change the situation’. Social leadership does not necessarily equal the old model, plus some nice pro-bono advertising.

    There are some fundamental systemic issues at play here, which is why we have a social poverty problem. That’s what I’m interested in Pilion Trust developing. But don’t ask me to cough up and not know where the money goes; convince me I can get involved and use the data you have about the problem to make an impact.

    • Hi Anne, we at Pilion are also interested in changing the way social poverty problems are looked at and dealt with by society. So it’s good to hear others are too. Regarding your comment on finances and where they go if anyone would like to contact us we would be more than happy to supply that information or you can look at our Annual Report on the Charity Commission website and should you have further questions that arise contact us again.

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  7. I have to agree with Anne’s comment, this is good for Pilion’s publicity maybe but not much good for anything else. It’s not offensive it just wilfully misses the point.

    The “test” shown in the video is not comparing two like situations. In the ‘fuck’ one you are asked to take a leaflet, in the ‘help’ one you are confronted with a collection tin. Give the ‘fuck’ one a collection tin and see how many people avoid him too!

    Of course people care when you abuse a section of society least able to help themselves but people who can afford to give to charity would like to hope their taxes go to supporting those people, that is what the welfare state is for. The fact that it’s being viciously cut back by the priviledged few is hardly the fault of the people walking past the man with the billboard on.
    Try wearing the ‘fuck’ billboard in the City and film that – some of them would probably agree with it.

    Instead as we all know our taxes more likely to be used to buy weapons etc. If you handed out leaflets trying to spur people to action on that point or donate food to a food bank or whatever with the ‘help’ board on you’d probably get more takers (but that wouldn’t fit the narrative of the video).

    The whole attitude of the video reminds me of the sometimes withering look you get from chuggers when you attempt to avoid them – while they have no idea how much goes out of your bank account to charity every month and no idea how much volunteer work you may or may not do in my spare time.

    Anyway, well done for getting yourself some publicity, good luck, use it wisely and try not to abuse the very people you’re asking for support!

  8. Great vid, I think you should do something similar where one side of the street a person is wearing Fuck the poor and on other side a person is collecting for the poor. Maybe the well-known red cross our similar. See if people cross the street to give…

  9. The problem with contrasting this with the Help The Poor message is a lack of trust.

    Where is my help going if I help? How do I know it isn’t a scam and the man wearing the sign board isn’t just pocketing the money and doing a runner to the nearest pub?

  10. Where were you guys when I needed you? Truth is, people don’t give today, because we all got shat on yesterday. I’m still living in poverty, at 26. Nobody cares, lets just move on, and pray that someone bombs the Bank of England, it is getting to that point.

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  12. Hi,
    Can you provide the name of the man wearing the sign? Is he an actor, I would like to congratulate him on his bravery and follow him on twitter if he had it. Many thanks :)

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  15. Brilliant video. It would be better for you, I think, to post this yourselves onto your Facebook page and then share it from there. It is great to have Upworthy sharing it but if you want more donations directly, I’d have thought making it simpler to get to you would be useful. Right on message, though – and it is a shame that we have to do and see things this way around to stop and think, but keep opening our eyes…

  16. A clever and direct campaign, that, to be honest, the hard-pressed public probably won’t like very much, but the sort of thing that charities will increasingly have to revert to since the Draconian laws recently introduced by the UK’s coalition government. These restrict the amount that charities and organisations can campaign against the very government policies and privatisations that directly contribute to such adverse poverty in the first place. Policies and privatisations that also benefit the businesses and bankers that fund the Conservative party and their own multimillion pound party-political campaigns. Good luck with your campaign in the increasingly un-altruistic society.

  17. So simple and powerful. Emotionally and intellectually. Terrific! Who knows whether it will increase giving towards your organization? But it will impact attitudes and bring reflection and likely the desired behavior change in a general sense towards poverty and the poor. Because of that, I won’t forget who you are. Bravo, Pilion! And thank you!

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  19. Hi, I’d like to include this video clip on a website to support an educational textbook being published in early 2015 in Ireland, and possibly the transcript in the book itself. Can someone please contact me to arrange permission as I can’t find an email contact on this page?

    Many thanks,


  20. Pillion Trust: There’s a tremendous need for a follow up on what you learned here. Redo the experiment in a more effective and telling way now.

    Put one fellow with a “Fuck the Poor” sign on one side of the square and another fellow with a “Help the Poor” sign on the other side of the square.

    When people start telling off the “Fuck the Poor” guy, he can say, “Oh, OK. I see. Well if you really feel that way, I guess you should talk to that fellow over there.” and point to the “Help the Poor” guy.

    See how many actually go over and donate vs. how many look like a deer in the headlights and splutter a bit before walking off embarrassedly.

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    You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore significantly in terms of this subject,
    made me individually believe it from sso many varied angles.
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  22. I think Pilion trust campaign it’s a great idea,as the force of nature is devided in 2 ways:creation and destruction.So if it doesn’t work for humans the word “Help” it might work very well, over the whole globe,the opposite word :”Fuck”..just for the simple fact that humans are nature.
    It might affect the poor people feelings though for the present..but everyone will be offended by a word “fuck” and soon we will all start to help:)

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