It happens every year around this time: South By Southwest (SXSW) is the dominate buzz with the “hipster” tech crowd for a few days, and then the world returns to normal.
Those too busy to follow the hype may have missed the story about one creative agency’s marketing experiment undertaken during the event: homeless hotspots. In conjunction with the Austin, TX-based event, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) hired 13 homeless men to serve as wifi hotspots with the assistance of Homeless Hotshotspots and Front Steps. Seen as “a short pilot program that would run throughout the weekend of the SXSW Interactive Festival, beginning Friday, March 9 and ending on Monday, March 12,” the experiment drew major criticism from those who considered it as a dehumanizing act of exploitation.
On the other hand, those acting as human hotspots seem to embrace the opportunity. See the video of hotspot “Clarence” here:
Still not sure about this? Click this link from the Wall Street Journal and consider what Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has to say (apologies in advance for the NSFW language…).