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Jon Stewart blasts "I'm a 4G hotspot" homeless people SXSW campaign

0. phoneArena 15 Mar 2012, 08:23 posted on

Just two days ago, we were shocked to find out about a marketing firm using homeless people as mobile hotspots…

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 08:35 9

1. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


"Im not a scientist"....neither are you Jon, so stop assuming you know everything. Dont you have a phone that you could have called a scientist?

Jon Stewart bugs me for being so slanted....(funny? sure i can give him that)

What's more degrading...begging for money and food on a street corner? or taking the initiative to get a job, become socially included (as opposed to excluded and ignored completely)?

the wording could have been different, but it sure as hell beats wearing a hot dog hat or dressing up as a chicken waving a stupid sign around.

I expect a little more political honesty imo

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 12:11 3

5. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


Wait why did this bug you? He was pointing out that they are being exploited. All the clips he was showing were from other shows saying it was pretty much ok. What's the issue with that? or am I missing something here?

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 14:35 2

10. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


the way he presents "news" is never an honest exposition. I give him funny sure, but intellectual honesty? I dont think so....

Again there is also the issue of accountability, these people choose to be there. So whether we feel that it's awful or not is entirely irrelevant. They wanted to make money and this was an opportunity.

I just feel they should pay them better is my stance...

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 18:57 2

15. llichtwalt (Posts: 8; Member since: 10 Jun 2010)


Jon Stewart is not a news journalist... He is a political satirist who's show is on Comedy Central. Not ABC Evening News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, a local news channel or even Fox News for that matter. Comedy Central. Pretty important part that should be remembered when making comments about, "reporting" of news.

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 12:48 4

7. phantom1076 (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


so you justify your action by the virtue of the fact that these people are better off because of your action without questioning the merit of such action?

For example, I see a beggar on the street, i can give him my s**tty leftover food. Sure he would be better off than not having any food, but it doesn't make me a good person. It makes me the worse scum.

I've heard so many justifications like yours about Nike's workers (or Addidas), Apple and multinational firms coming into third world countries and make people work for pennies for the hour. They always said, "Hey these people have no job, they should be grateful of us." However, they forget to see that they benefit they get from these people far outweigh whatever the benefits these people receive from them.

I come from Vietnam, a third world country, and i have three cousins working in a shoes factory, and let me tell you none of them really wants to work there, but they have to support their brother who was lucky to get to go to college.

I got into so many arguments with my college classmates whenever they spew such nonsense about how people in third world countries should be appreciative of such companies. It was the same stupid argument when the French think of their colonial people. If you get to see some old footage about a French woman who threw rice on the street for beggar children, you would think it's inhuman too when those people are treated like animals.

So please don't say stupid crap like these people are lucky to get a job because of the marketing firm. We are not judging those homeless people, we are judging the marketing firm who exploited the condition of those homeless people.

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 14:26 1

9. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


so they didnt choose to be "exploited?"

i guess i fail to see your logic

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 15:22

14. phantom1076 (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


i dont get why you keep going to the homeless guy. The issue that people (and Jon) have is about the marketing scheme alone, nothing else. The ends do not justify the mean in this case. They're not saving a thousand by sacrificing one person. They are not saving anyone life. They are benefiting greatly from exploiting someone else so the end cannot justify the means.

Being a Kantian is more appropriate in this case than a utilitarian.

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 14:50 1

11. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


"For example, I see a beggar on the street, i can give him my s**tty leftover food. Sure he would be better off than not having any food, but it doesn't make me a good person. It makes me the worse scum."

or let him die because you had lesser food and didnt give it to him? this wouldnt make you less of a person? derp...you are a retard.

I mean obviously if you are able and willing give them a good meal if it was readily available, but in this case these people have no other means of income....so yes it's better than NOTHING, regardless of how we feel about their treatment.

If they had any other choice do you think they would have "degraded" themselves in the first place? that's an obvious no, but they dont have a choice, they are homeless, they are jobless...they take what they can get. His smile seems to send off some form of gratitude

the pay they get is awful nonetheless, they should be paid minimum wage of that I fault the event providers and agree with you.

"I come from Vietnam, a third world country, and i have three cousins working in a shoes factory, and let me tell you none of them really wants to work there, but they have to support their brother who was lucky to get to go to college."

your point?

"I got into so many arguments with my college classmates whenever they spew such nonsense about how people in third world countries should be appreciative of such companies."

you got into arguments because you yourself are ridiculous.

I'm judging Jon Stewart for showing partial clips and displaying edited forms of "news" as news. I'm judging the people who are giving this opportunity because they aren't paying minimum wage. HOWEVER they now have a job that they didnt have before. So crappy or not they're gonna take that 20 bucks however they can get it. I'm also not talking about third world countries, so thats a moot point...i'm sorry they work in a shoe factory and make crappy income.

should they pay them more? you're not gonna hear me argue that they shouldnt, but you will hear me argue with people like you who accuse me of being heartless...

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 15:12 2

13. phantom1076 (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


You are defending a despicable action just based on the result of an action without looking at the intent. An indecent action is indecent no matter how much money or how good of an outcome it brings. Im not accusing you of being heartless, im saying you should not defend those actions based on result alone, because it's simply absurd.

I can pay a guy $500 a day to be a literal dog: barking, walking on four legs, chasing after the ball when i throw it, eat my s**t, etc.. That $500 help feed his children, give them shelter, but it doesn't make me a good person, or my action would be justified. Do you get what i am saying? I hate it when people just accept a wrong thing based purely on the end result (usually money), especially when it comes to human relationship.

Or I can expand it further to a real animal, can i exploit a dog or a cat for my own amusement because that dog or cat is better of because of me? Most people will say no.

Back to my original example of me giving a guy my s**tty leftover food, I knew you would go for what about not giving him food and let him die. Of course not. But you forget the alternative, how about you give him real food because you can afford it? Nobody will judge you if you don't give him food, but once you do, please do it with a good heart, not because you do it for the end result alone.

As for this particular marketing scheme, as the article suggest, these guys could have phrased it better and no one would have an issue, but instead they phrase like these homeless people are a bunch of human antennas for $20 a day. It's bad PR for the firm, and frankly the guy who thought of this scheme is probably a smart guy but kinda insensitive.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 08:07 1

16. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


i have addressed your points and dont feel the need to repeat myself...reread what i wrote again

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 11:05

17. phantom1076 (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


I have read your post completely, and Im telling you that judging any action based on the end result alone is absurd. Just like Jon said at the end of the clip, "Why stop there?" Child labor should be ok too, child exploitation should be ok too. These kids have no jobs no parents, it doesn't mean you can use them to your liking.

It's not about the amount of money being paid to the homeless folks, they can be paid minimum wage and people will still have a problem with the marketing scheme.

And by the way, you have problem with Jon Stewart as "News?" I assume you watched Fox News so much that you think Jon ever said his stuff is news. The Daily Show is a satirical show, its on Comedy Central. it never intended to be a news program.

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 09:41 5

2. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Why not??? Instead of having people degrading themselves holding those homeless signs,we can just take advantage of them and have them work all day for twenty bucks,right??? We can even justify it in our own minds by saying; "Oh,well,at least we are paying them". Pathetic.

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 14:54 2

12. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


you're right they could just not have a job and starve to death :P

i agree they should pay them more, but to take this stance that they're better off is redic...

pay them more yes, but to say it isnt better than nothing is silly

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 10:01 7

3. hepresearch (unregistered)


I read this the other day in the previous post here about this, and I misunderstood, thinking that this was some inner-city wireless infrastructure trial thingy going on... I did not realize that SXSW was an event, nor that BBH was an ad agency, nor that the "pay" these folks got was a measly $20 for a whole day. I was thinking that this was not just a publicity stunt for an event, and that these folks got paid better, and that they were going to be a part of a longer-term program. I just assumed these things because that was all that would make any sense to me.

Now that I am looking at a more complete picture of this, this really is awful. This is using the desperation of these individuals to de-humanize them for a day as a stupid marketing stunt, and nothing more. This isn't a real job... this isn't a good income source... and this isn't a hand-up either. It is a one-time $20 hand-out for those who feel they have little choice but to become networking hardware for the day as they advertise that fact on a t-shirt they have to wear. Now I see why people are so upset about this. It is upsetting to me now, and to think that I was buying into the idea that it could be a more benign idea for helping the homeless... this is wrong. Just plain wrong!

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 12:11

6. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


Hell, $20 bucks? Sign me up!

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 13:24 2

8. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)


$20 for a whole day? Damn. At least give them minimum wage

posted on 15 Mar 2012, 11:40 5

4. Stuntman (Posts: 784; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


Aren't they being paid below minimum wage for the US?

posted on 26 Mar 2012, 10:58 1

18. cheaurelio (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)


Not surprisingly, the $20/day rate is inaccurate. The details of the actual compensation plan are here:http://bbh-labs.com/homeless-hotspots-clarifying-inaccuracies-of-payments-participants

In summary, it's $50 guaranteed for 5-6 hours of work, with each person getting to keep what they make above that in sales. So at a minimum they were making $8.33/hr (Texas minimum wage is $7.50/hr).

As far as the "I am a 4G hotspot" it seems to me to just be a play on the "I am a PC" ads and is not intended as dehumanization of the homeless. If anything this has the side effect of humanizing the homeless in the minds of the people who use the 4G access point because it forces them to engage, talk and negotiate with someone with whom they otherwise would have avoided all eye contact.

Comparison to the "homeless as furniture" (a direct rip-off of Bruno) is also completely misplaced. The only purpose of a using a person as furniture is for creating a sense of power in oneself and humiliation in the victim. That might be fine if both people have that sort of fetish, but not as a commercial venture using people with few -- if any -- other options. In this case, the homeless person is actually providing a valuable service for which they are getting paid.

What's sad about everyone making a big fuss about this without even taking the time to verify the accuracy of the information is that there really are many cases -- particularly in the third world but also in the US -- of people who are exploited for their labor. Usually that takes the form of people getting put into the position that they have no other option but to do whatever low-wage, dangerous labor is offered. And yes, that can take place in a shoe factory where it seems at first glace like it's just the "free market" at work.

I would say that I'm disappointed with John Stewart for this segment, but then I remember how he's really just a funnier left-wing version of Rush Limbaugh, FOX news, and all the other jackasses of the right.

Note: I have absolutely no relation to BBH and only read about this because my wife mentioned reading about it this morning.

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