Imagine walking into a grocery store where every item is five times more expensive than it usually is. A store where milk is $24 and a monthly bus pass costs $365.
That’s the unfortunate reality that the one in ten Bay Area families (788,000 individuals) living below the poverty line experiences every day. In large part due to high-paying jobs in Silicon Valley, the Bay Area’s median household income is $153,057—which, after taxes, is five times more than the earnings of those families living below the poverty line ($24,300). To raise awareness of this pay gap, we partnered with the Tipping Point to simulate the struggle of living below the poverty line.
GS&P introduced “Poverty Line Prices” with a provocative film. We placed undercover cameras in a high-end San Francisco (Nob Hill) grocery store and filmed people’s reactions as they were charged prices five times higher than the real cost.
“The Bay Area is a tale of two cities: the haves and the have-nots,” said Rich Silverstein, co-chairman and partner at GS&P. “We wanted people to get a small sense of the reality of living below the poverty line so that they truly understand the importance of Tipping Point’s mission.”
We also created a coupon insert that features items with prices inflated by 500 percent. It will run in the San Francisco Chronicle on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The insert serves as a stark contrast to the Black Friday blockbuster discounts that typically appear in the issue. The campaign will drive to a mobile-first website, tippingpoint.org, that enables people to plug in their income to determine how expensive basic items seem for those living below the poverty line. On social networks, people are encouraged to share the campaign using the hashtag #PovertyLinePrices.
Released: November 2016
San Francisco, Tipping Point Community