Innovative Salvation Army ads target people in need
Unless you live in Seattle, you probably haven’t seen The Salvation Army latest advertising campaign. Instead of billboards, bus bench signs and mall kiosks asking you to financially support the Army’s work to help people struggling with hunger, addiction or homelessness, the ads are targeted specifically to those in crisis.
The ad copy simply urges those who need a place to sleep, someplace to stay warm, or help with addictions to seek refuge at The Salvation Army. The ads include addresses, intake hours and even a map to show people the way.
Click here and enter your zip code to find out where The Salvation Army shelters and addiction recovery programs are in your area. Bookmark this link on your phone so you’ll have it handy when you meet someone in need of help.
Our territorial leader Commissioner Jim Knaggs came up with the idea. His parents were Salvation Army officers too and when he was a boy, his mom would run classified ads in the local paper asking girls “in trouble” to call her for help. He and his siblings were coached on exactly what to say should a girl in need call when their mom was out.
In those days, pregnant young women were often unwelcome in their own homes because of the family’s shame about her condition and his mother wanted to help.
The modern incarnation of those classified ads can be found on and in Seattle city buses, in the Pioneer Square Transit Station, on telephone poles, affixed to construction fencing, across exterior walls of downtown buildings and on The Salvation Army’s own properties.
In other words, the ads are in the areas where they’re most likely to be seen by the target audience who needs our help.
Captain Dana Libby oversees all of The Salvation Army’s social service ministries in Seattle. Since the ad campaign started on October 1, he’s seen a 36% increase in the use of their women’s shelter and a major jump in the number of calls from people seeking assistance who didn’t know the Army had a shelter and housing programs. Capt. Libby said, “each of the more than 1,300 calls means that we have a new opportunity to meet the needs of our neighbors.”
Here’s a slideshow of images with a sampling of the ads: