Poster star Munich vendors fight the dark side

Street paper vendors in Munich became the heroes of a striking advertising campaign this summer, as their paper BISS teamed up with creative agency Conrad Caine.

The posters tell the stories of three vendors – Frank Schmidt, Abdulvahed Atchikzai and Christian Zimmermann – emphasising how selling the magazine has helped them to leave the dark part of their lives behind them.

Conrad Caine donated their time for free to craft a hard-hitting campaign that was seen on billboards across the city.

BISS Managing Director Karin Lohr said: “BISS is extremely proud of the vendors and we would like to encourage other poor people to come to us for support.

“We would like to show the public how the Munich streetpaper BISS contributes to overcome poverty and achieve social integration.”

Former haulage contractor Frank’s story tells how he went bankrupt and found himself sleeping in train carriages, before finding BISS and working towards clearing his debt and finding a home.

A refugee from Afghanistan, Abdulvahed lost everything there in the war in 1978. He drove a taxi in Hamburg before ending up in an emergency shelter in Munich.  He is proud to have left his dark time behind him. He sells BISS in Munich, supporting two women and 13 children.

Christian was a successful goldsmith and happily married with four children. But when his marriage fell apart and his wife left him, his life came off the rails. He was no longer able to make jewellery. He did not want to apply for benefits, so he ended up on the street and made ​​his way as a street musician. BISS has helped him leave those dark times behind.

BISS is a monthly Munich street newspaper that helps citizens in social difficulties to help themselves. It has been published since October 1993.