#BuckTheSystem with Portland street paper Street Roots

Portland’s Street Roots is calling on their loyal customers to #BuckTheSystem with a new initiative that promotes the street paper’s social impact and quality journalism.

In partnership with local design and marketing agency Frank Creative, Street Roots came up with the catchy and bold tagline, which is emblazoned on t-shirts for their vendors and has been harnessed on social media through a hashtag campaign.

#BuckTheSystem is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the cover price of the paper. By buying the paper for one dollar, each customer contributes to changing a vendor’s life and changing their community.

Frank Creative’s Alex Cherin explains: “#BuckTheSystem is a rallying cry to all Portlanders that one dollar makes change.

“We have proven results that our collective efforts make a difference in the lives of individuals and the community as a whole. The #BuckTheSystem campaign is a call to action to that will generate awareness, increase vendor sales, increase resources and operational revenue.”

Sarah Cloud, development director for Street Roots, said that they were delighted to work with Frank Creative, who donated their time for free.

“In the end, the aim of the campaign is to provide the vendors with the ability to sell more newspapers,” she added.

“The vendors really like the bright colour of the t-shirt because it helps them to stand out in the crowd. We hope that this is just the beginning of the toolkit we will be able to make available to them.”

Street Roots buck system2

In the future, Street Roots and Frank plan on working together to set up a website where the public can buy their own Street Roots t-shirts and other merchandise.

“We’re capitalising on the fact that Street Roots is a very cool institution in Portland, which is considered by many to be a hip place to vacation among other things,” said Sarah. “This will be part of our fundraising strategy to increase our earned income opportunities.”

Frank is also working to give the vendors more resources.

“We will expand #BuckTheSystem into an integrated local grassroots and social media campaign to drive on-going community awareness and action,” says Alex.

“In addition, we will work to support our vendors by providing much needed sales environment essentials such as climate-appropriate apparel and point of sales assets that will assist in creating conversation and connection.”

Frank Creative’s top marketing advice for street papers

  • Create an inclusive call to action — something people can relate to and gather around; focusing on the larger purpose because often we focus on the nuts and bolts.
  • Simplify your language — be bold, be courageous.
  • Shame and guilt work. Do not be afraid to play this card. The worst sin is not being heard at all.