Joburg business employs over 26 beggars to advertise their company

Joburg business employs over 26 beggars to advertise their company

Purple Cows help some of Joburg’s jobless and homeless.


Johannesburg, South Africa – In February 2019, a Durban business became headline news after employing over 45 beggars to act like human billboards, and it seems that the trend is catching on around the country!

A Johannesburg company has now also undertaken an initiative that focuses on the less fortunate around the city!

“What if an Ad campaign could do some good instead of just adding to the clutter? put their marketing budget ‘where their mouths are’ and are paying unemployed and homeless people instead of putting up more billboards.”

“Purple Cow” is the title of a famous book on marketing by Seth Godin. He pointed out that to be noticed in a cluttered marketplace, you need to be remarkable – and that’s precisely the philosophy that inspired a campaign that appeared at some of Joburg’s busiest intersections this week.

All of the people holding posters featuring a purple cow – naturally, a Nguni – are jobless, and in some cases, homeless. They’re well-known to the motorists who pass them every day to and from work. Now, instead of begging, they can earn an income by doing what they already do anyway – being visible. It’s a win-win situation both for the brand and the people advertising it. 

The Purple Cow poster campaign is for, a campaign that aims to find fresh and innovative solutions for South Africa’s problems. The purple Nguni cow is the symbol of a new brand that will soon be launching officially, but in the meantime, paying unemployed people to draw attention to South Africa’s massive unemployment problem – and getting the public talking – makes a lot of sense. 

Each participant is paid R50 an hour for four hours of work a day, two hours in the morning rush hour, and two hours in the afternoon, which translates to R200 a day. A total of 26 people were involved in the first three days of the campaign, and there are plans to extend it to other parts of Johannesburg and other cities. 

To make sure that nobody gets bored, the Purple Cow campaign will be introducing new boards over the next few weeks. Look out for them at an intersection near you – and please give a thumbs-up to the people holding them. We believe that there are ways to fix South Africa’s problems by being remarkable, and that applies to our advertising campaigns too. 

So far, response to the campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. If you see a purple Nguni cow around Johannesburg, please tweet @purplecowmobi or comment on the Facebook page – the more response we get, the longer we can extend the campaign and the more budget we can justify. You can also use #purplecowposters. 

Sources: Backabuddy
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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