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Mustard Seed “Homeless for Christmas”

Innovation in Web Marketing: The First-ever Airbnb PSA campaign

Going where no one had gone before, we created the first-ever Airbnb PSA campaign to raise awareness about Calgary’s homeless. The listings we created on Airbnb, showing where the homeless spent their nights, cost $0 and garnered massive media attention.

The campaign surprised travellers looking online for a place to stay in Calgary with Airbnb listings detailing where homeless people actually spend their nights. The “homes” were available for $20 a night, the same amount that someone living on Alberta social assistance receives per day.

In total, we created three homeless listings on Airbnb. The campaign also included cardboard signs around town depicting park benches for rent and a social media push (Facebook, Twitter and Thunderclap) to amplify reach and spark conversations online.

With a budget of $0, the campaign generated hundreds of thousands of impressions online. It received coverage from media outlets such as CBC, 660 News and the Huffington Post. We even received a call from the president of Airbnb Canada applauding the effort.