I don’t have anything against charities. Quite the opposite. I have worked for some. I have volunteered for some. I have had some as clients. I contribute to some regularly. I sponsor a child in Asia. I aspire to lead one at some point in my career. I even grew a moustache for one.
But I have a problem with chuggers.
In an age of engagement they are the logo jacket equivalent of the foot-in-the-door salesmen who used to try and smarmily sell my mum tea towels or life insurance while my dad shouted ‘tell them to bugger off’ from the kitchen.
Near my office on High Holborn they are endemic. The colour of the waterproof jackets change. The awful patter doesn’t.
Firstly, I have no idea who these people work for. Do they really work for these charities whose brands I know and in some cases already support and admire? Are they some third party freelance outfit? Are they happy smiley con merchants?
It is like Apple trying to sell you a new generation iPad through some scruffy smirky bugger on a street corner pretending they fancy you or want to be your best mate.
Then there is the stock flirting. Call me a prude but is a charity into saving tigers or helping poverty stricken children best served by young women clearly told to wear short shirts and smile flirtatiously, and who could just as easily be handing out samples of a new drinks brand? Or young guys giving the whole ‘check out the size of my clipboard baby’ vibe.
Unless you are totally deluded, no.
And who trains these people. They constantly pounce on poor young Gen Ys trying to find a sandwich they can affording central London, who I assume they think will be floored by their big smiles and hiya mate banter, while people of my age who are fortunately not burdened by massive student debt and London rents are let by, presumably on the grounds we are selfish old capitalists. Heard of the LiveAid generation you guys? Probably not.
What other area of sales & marketing, in a world of strategic insights and analysis, works on the basis of the hunch of some Gen Y for rent on a busy street corner.