November 28, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A marketing stunt that paid homeless people
to carry Wi-Fi signals during the South By Southwest Conference in
Austin, Texas, is drawing widespread criticism.
BBH Labs, a unit of the global marketing agency BBH, gave 14
people from a homeless shelter mobile Wi-Fi devices and T-shirts
that announced "I am a 4G Hotspot."
BBH New York chairwoman Emma Cookson says the company paid them
a minimum of $50 a day. She called the experiment a modernized
version of homeless selling street newspapers.
But many have called the program exploitive. Wired.com wrote
that it "sounds like something out of a darkly satirical
science-fiction dystopia." ReadWriteWeb called it a "blunt
display of unselfconscious gall."
The experiment was meant to begin last Friday but rain delayed
its implementation until Sunday. It stopped Monday.