GS&P Takes on ‘Poverty Line Prices’ for Tipping Point

By Erik Oster 

Goodby Silvestein & Partners staged a PSA stunt for Tipping Point, a poverty relief organization, charging customers at a grocery store in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco five times the normal price for their items and capturing their reactions.

Customers, unsurprisingly, didn’t take kindly to the price hike, which a cashier attributes to a “Poverty Line Prices” special at the store. Near the end of the online video, text appears onscreen explaining the reason for the wonky math: “For Bay Area families living on $24,300 or less, this is what every day feels like, in every store,” since they earn five times less than average.

The video will be supported by a print ad in the San Francisco Chronicle which will run the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that disguises itself as a coupon insert — only with prices inflated to 500 percent. Both efforts seek to raise attention of the inequality gap at a time when it’s at risk of growing even worse. There’s also a social media push through the “povertylineprices” hashtag.

“The Bay Area is a tale of two cities: the haves and the have-nots,” GS&P partner and co-chairman Rich Silverstein said in a statement. “We wanted people to get a small sense of the reality of living on the poverty line to truly understand the importance of Tipping Point’s mission.”

“Every day, more than one million Bay Area residents are forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying the rent, buying medicine and paying for school books. And, lack of financial resources is just one of the many challenges facing those living below the poverty line,” added Tipping Point founder and CEO Daniel Lurie. “In a region with so many resources and so much creativity, we simply have to do more to help break the cycle of multigenerational poverty in the Bay Area.”
Tipping Point

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