Just before Christmas, Joe Manzaneres, an American Re/Max realtor decided to sponsor a homeless man by paying him to hold up a sign in the hopes of drumming up business.
“No need for your cash! I’m sponsored by Joe Manzanares,” the sign held by Chris Rezac, a homeless man in Denver, reads. It has replaced his original placard, which read “I’m cold. I’m homeless. I’m hungry. Spare Anything.”
And in what some may view as a classic case of exploitation, Rezac sees a chance to turn his life around.
“I’m actually a certified welder, certified forklift operator,” Rezac told a local Denver, Colorado Fox news
station. “To have the chance to get back on my feet, is something that I’ve been begging for for a long time.”
Whichever side you fall in the ethical debate, there is no arguing the level of creativity of such an out-of-the-box marketing initiative. And it’s been effective: At press time more than 4,000 people have shared the original news article with their Facebook followers, 28 have linked the site through LinkedIn and 48 have tweeted about it. Not to mention the thousands of viewers who tuned in to see the original broadcast.
Either way, Rezac is thankful for the help Manzanares has provided.
“This is a guaranteed paycheque every day,” Rezac said. “Joe is the nicest person I think I have ever met in my entire life. He’s the only one that ever showed up and said ‘hey, instead of just giving you a dollar, how about a job?’”
And it doesn’t stop here. Manzaneras has been working to find Rezac is working with the Homeless Coalition of Denver to hopefully bring his initiative to people in similar situations.