Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reverse Pick Pocketing Ad Stunt - Talk Talk UK

Reverse pick-pocketing is in fact the art of placing one's own objects into the possession of another, either for entertainment or a charitable matter. However, the correct, street credible term, is "PUT POCKETING" - Urban Dictionary

British telecommunications company TALK TALK has hired reformed pickpockets to work as "put pockets" slipping money into pockets and handbags in a marketing campaign. TalkTalk has assembled a team of what it calls 20 "ex-pickpockets" to execute the stunt.

The stunt seems to have its roots in Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) Burger King ads form late 2008 (see below).

But it ain't cheap... the campaign will distribute £100,000 by reverse pick-pocketing. The plan is to slip 5-pound to 20-pound bills, along with cards advertising Talk Talk, to people in crowded places like Trafalgar Square.

The company, Talk Talk, plans to post signs where the ex-pickpockets are at work in London that will say "Rejoice! Put pockets operating in this area".

The broadband and telecoms company is giving away the money between now and the end of August in areas including Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, Covent Garden, Westminster, Trafalgar Square and the South Bank, as well as on the Tube network.

Chris Fitch, who says he picked pockets for a living while he was in school and kept it up until he got caught, is in charge o
f recruitment. Along with working for Talk Talk, he now provides guidance about pickpocketing prevention.

"I've got a team of 20 that I can call on," Fitch said. "Some of them are ex-offenders, and some of them are magicians, sleight of hand."

"There is actually some sense to this," Fitch said. "If I were to stand on the street and say here's £20, come and get it, they wouldn't. They would think there was a catch to this. So they came up with the idea of covertly planting the money. And that's what we do."

Mark Schmid, communications director of TalkTalk, said: "With so many scams out there, Britons have become very skeptical of companies giving money away -- so we have turned to Put-Pocketing to give something back. Adding, "While unconventional, we don't think anyone is going to mind finding a crisp £20 in their pocket courtesy of the activity."

The campaign has met with a mixed response from those who like the idea of finding a fiver in their trousers, to those who have been victims of bag snatching and other street crimes questioning the sense of such a campaign.

However, TalkTalk has anticipated such fears and says that the Metropolitan Police have been notified of the campaign.

The ex-criminals have been given ID and minders in case they do get caught in the act although TalkTalk said that the stunt has been in pilot since July 1 and none of the team has yet been rumbled.

Other UK cities will have the chance to be "put pocketed" later in the year.

CP+B - Burger King Ad:

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