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Nurturing brave creative ideas creates remarkable change – The Street Store

January 31, 2014

TheStreetStore-10564 The Street Store – the world’s first rent-free, premise-free and FREE ‘pop-up store’ for the homeless– has garnered immense support and captivated the imagination of countless people both locally and globally. Through a brave yet simple idea to bridge the gap between the have and have nots, the world’s first ‘pop-up store’ for the poor was created by simply hanging up specially designed posters in a busy street where people could donate clothing. The homeless could then browse through them and choose what they needed.

The Street Store was borne from two courageous young creatives from M&C Saatchi Abel – Kayli Levitan and Max Pazak – presenting a remarkable idea that could drive change and be owned by people around the world. M&C Saatchi Abel – SA’s fastest- growing, new-era leaders of the communication industry – encourages and gives the freedom to all individuals at the agency to liberate brave creative ideas that can drive remarkable change.

“What struck us about this idea, and why we rallied behind it, was because the concept gives opportunity to the giver and dignity to the receiver. When sharing this initiative with our Chairman, Thandi Chaane, this also resonated powerfully with her. She pointed out that it was a great example of living up to Madiba’s legacy of restoring human dignity and taking ownership of the country’s challenges,” says Mike Abel, chief executive partner of M&C Saatchi Abel.

Abel further adds that very often, people will just drop a big black bag of old clothes off somewhere and they don’t really know what will happen to it. For homeless people, they often have to just take what they can get, regardless of whether or not it fits, whether or not they like the colour, or whether or not the shoe fits… it makes no difference. He continues to say that The Street Store gives the homeless person a genuine shopping experience that gives them dignity.

To date two very successful Street Stores have taken place in Cape Town with extensive local media and global media, such as Huffington Post and Bono’s One Foundation, covering it. Jason Harrison, M&C Saatchi Abel’s Managing Director, Cape Town, points out that the media will play an important role in creating traction for the idea as it is a completely open-source concept that can be owned by individuals world-wide. He further comments that the ready-to-use poster artwork can be downloaded online to assist individuals in merchandising the donated clothes.

“Over and above lots of requests to host Street Stores in SA, numerous requests have come from all over the world including Africa, US, UK and India. It clearly shows that identifying ideas that connect people and that also tap into a key insight galvanises positive reactions and engagement. In this instance, it was connecting and bridging the gap between those that have and those that don’t while  still recognising that it is more powerful when it is done in a way that gives dignity to both the giver and the receiver,” says Gordon Ray, M&C Saatchi Abel’s Executive Creative Director, Cape Town.

“The idea was also so powerful because it bridged two realities using a simple, easy-to-implement and cost effective medium. It brought two worlds together on a simple poster. This was influenced by the fact that M&C Saatchi Abel, as with all the network’s offices around the world, is founded on the principle of ‘brutal simplicity’. ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought’ is more than a philosophy; it lies at the centre of everything we do.”

Ray further points out that truly powerful ideas tap into the zeitgeist and are not owned by creatives. He explains that setting ideas free and allowing them to grow organically is essential in an age where the world is driven and championed by sharing.

M&C Saatchi Abel is taking this so seriously that it has started translating the posters into other languages so that people from different spheres of the world are able to take the idea and make it their own. The most recent Street Store took place in Woodstock in Cape Town and was again a resounding success so the agency encourages people to visit the site on and to get involved. You can also go to and to find out more.

“We are overwhelmed by the positive response to The Street Store and will continue to create, nurture and support brave ideas that can take a life of their own and make remarkable change.  M&C Saatchi was founded on the belief that simple, powerful ideas can change the world, The Street Store proves this romantic belief to be true and that nothing is impossible. It goes hand in hand with how we have bravely taken a totally fresh approach to advertising – a model focused on solving long-term problems rather than only moving short-term product,” concludes Abel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. chrishwhelan permalink
    January 31, 2014 10:21 am

    To truly affect change one often must be disruptive. Take courage, wisdom, action! Thanks for the blog, Mike – very encouraging. Looking at a few disruptive things myself:)

    BTW, keen to take the conversation further wrt building personal brand.



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