[Clearwater, July 7, 2013] The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Homeless Leadership Board are proud to announce that key community stakeholders will convene on Monday to announce a unique partnership with the Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design. This partnership is charged with changing public understanding of homelessness through a social marketing campaign.
The partners will host a press conference 10:00 am Monday, July 8, at Safe Harbor, 14840 49th St N, Clearwater, FL 33760,to announce the launch of a social marketing campaign to change public awareness and behavior relating to homelessness. Speakers at the event include: Pinellas County Public Defender Bob Dillinger; Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri; State Representative Kathleen Peters; Bob Clifford, President Clearwater Regional Chamber; Carlen Petersen, Chairwoman Homeless Leadership Board; David Konitzer, Associate Dean of Academics; and Jennifer Peterson, Academic Department Director representing the Art Institute of Tampa as well as students taking the lead on the campaign process.
“The homeless issue has a broad impact on the whole community including the business community,” states Bob Clifford, President/CEO of the Clearwater Regional Chamber. “Much of Pinellas County depends on our tourism industry. A high visibility ratio of homeless can adversely affect the amount of tourism and local dollars in the coffers of local businesses.”
The Art Institute of Tampa is known for excellence in creative education and for community service projects that involve collaborative marketing strategies in which multiple disciplines – film, graphic design, web and digital media – come together in a coordinated product campaign. Honors students guided by faculty will put their creative skills behind a humanitarian social and traditional marketing campaign for 2013/2014.
The model for the campaign is inspired by the famous Truth® campaign of 1998, which became worldwide. In that historic effort, high school age artists and marketers came together to run devastating opposition to tobacco ad campaigns that targeted teens.
On a visit to The Art Institute of Tampa last year, Rep. Peters asked if the school might join in a social marketing program to generate messaging to change public awareness and behavior for a cause. Besides the social benefit, she pointed out that every student who participated would build a rich, substantial portfolio of work from a real-world campaign. Representative Peters believes students will bring a fresh and innovative approach that will evoke change. Student leaders were identified and agreed to participate, and The Art Institute created an honors class to spearhead the design and model for the campaign.
Representative Peters and other stakeholders believe one of the most difficult homeless groups to assist is the “invisible homeless.” Many invisible homeless are single mothers living in the shadows from fear of losing their children for charges of neglect. Others are teen runaways who are couch surfing from house to house. Recently, Pinellas County engaged in a “point in time count” to estimate the number of homeless people in the county. The report showed that approximately 6,000 homeless people in Pinellas County could be identified that particular day, of which more than 38% are children.
The students at The Art Institute will begin this project in July as part of their curriculum. Students in the design and media arts programs will establish the campaign plan and produce the elements of that campaign possibly including, but not limited to, PSAs for television and radio, billboard messages and print collateral. Launch of the campaign is expected to take place in the winter of 2013 and spring of 2014.
“We believe if we can shift public behavior from giving to individuals on the street to giving to effective programs, we can move many homeless from the street into programs where they can get the mental health, health, job skills and transitional housing services that they need to achieve a life of independence,” said Rep. Peters. “These programs have been serving this population for decades; they know how best to meet the needs of the homeless regardless of the age or circumstance.”
Additional Community Partners joining the campaign to support the launch and execution include: Bright House Networks, Tampa Bay Times, Jiffy Reprographics, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board and Clearwater Regional Chamber.