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AdLab students create video aimed to help homeless during the holidays

The snowman stands on a street corner, in a park, in front of a restaurant. Cars drive past and people walk past. A narrator says, “They stay out in the cold, day and night, and people prefer that they don’t come inside.”

The video is one created by BYU’s student-run ad agency to encourage the community to support the homeless during the holiday season.

“The ad is clever, timely and addresses a real community need,” said Brent Crane, director of the Food and Care Coalition, which partnered with the AdLab this year and last. “We do not have adequate housing for the homeless in our community and this project will directly impact the effort to get persons off the street and needed support services.”

As the snowman — representing the local homeless population — is repeatedly overlooked by passersby, a narrator says, “It’s hard for us to know what to say. It’s hard for us to know what they need. But it’s not hard to help the homeless.” The video concludes by encouraging viewers to Venmo @FoodandCare.

“It is important because most people want to help but don't know how,” Crane said. And the ad offers one solution.

BYU advertising major Erin Gazdik, one of eight AdLab students who collaborated on the video, said working on the project provided a great opportunity to make a difference in the community. “The core insight that our video revolved around is that we often don’t notice homeless people, physically or emotionally. We wanted people to realize that although homeless people are often unnoticed, they are not any less human and do not deserve any less compassion or comfort.”

Added student Luke Bogner, “It was refreshing to know our work was for more than a grade.”

The project is in line with the AdLab’s goals, which include both providing students professional experience and allowing them to serve, said communications professor and AdLab faculty advisor Jeff Sheets. “When you can be a partner to the community in a way that’s engaging and surprising, and it also benefits and blesses the community, that’s what we strive for in everything we do.”

Last year’s ad, which also encouraged viewers to use Venmo to support the Food and Care Coalition, received more than 84,000 views on the group’s Facebook page and raised $5,000. Referring to their two years of collaboration with the AdLab, Crane called it “an absolute pleasure to work with two groups that completed such impactful and professional work.”


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