When a friend emailed me about an gambling community’s use of homeless people to advertise its site, I was skeptical. Pokerfacebook.com claims to hire homeless people to hold signs advertising its website. The site even calls this “bumvertising”, a term it claims to have trademarked. Tonight, The Daily Show featured a segment on the website and its unorthodox tactic. But I remain skeptical. It seems more likely to me that “bumvertising” is actually a publicity ploy. The term, which some may find offensive, is sure to capture the attention of the media and the public. Already circulating as a forwarded email story, “bumvertising” now has 18,600 hits on Google. After tonight’s Daily Show coverage, this number will only grow. In fact, as the Daily Show went to commercial, I noticed that Pokerfacebook.com’s site slowed under the strain of traffic from the US West Coast. It’s possible the firm hired some homeless people, but it was probably as a publicity stunt, not as a foray into a new advertising concept. As a publicity stunt, though, the concept should work wonders. 18,601 (counting mine) hits in Google won’t hurt anyone.

See also my follow up post on this story.

(c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.