MikeSian’s specially designed ‘brunch spot’ helps raise thousands for Lifeshare

Manchester-based design duo MikeSian have once again stepped in to help raise funds for the city’s homeless charity Lifeshare. And this time, they’re leveraging the buzz around foodie brunch spots.

Having previously worked with Lifeshare towards the end of 2020, design and art duo MikeSian are back again with a new campaign centred around the charity’s homeless breakfast service. And given that the charity currently serves up more than twice the number of meals as it did previously, it sounds like there has never been a better time for them to lend a hand.

The reasons behind this increased demand are numerous, but the biggest ones are the added pressures of the cost of living crisis and the current rhetoric from the government concerning rough sleeping. Both have combined to create a toxic landscape for homeless people, as well as making it hard to provide solutions.

“It’s always a difficult one to get right, as there are so many charities competing for the same space in the public’s mind,” says MikeSian’s Mike Emerson. “You’re also trying to wring the absolute most possible out of really limited media opportunities, working a lot with donations and bits of help here and there, so the pressure is on to make something that converts into donations.”

Having presented a couple of ideas to Lifeshare, the charity immediately set upon the idea of being set up as a brunch spot. “There’s so much hype generated every week about new restaurant openings or foodie launches in Manchester, so we thought it could be interesting to try and tap into that industry a little bit,” says Mike.

“There’s a whole host of young professionals who’ve moved into the city over the past few years, who want to help the homeless but aren’t necessarily sure where to divert their donations. That audience seemed to constitute the brunch crowd too, so we thought it was an interesting target for the campaign.”

Ultimately, the campaign took a two-pronged approach. MikeSian began with some fake celebrity quote posters to hype up a mysterious yet critically acclaimed brunch spot that was coming to the city before swapping out alternatives with the Lifeshare branding a week later.

“We wanted to get people wondering who was behind it, why there was no link to any overarching brand, and how they could get an invite,” says Mike. “We planted a few seeds with certain media sites and influencers to start generating social media discussion about who could be involved.

“One week later, we dropped the quote marks, swapped each poster out for a new Lifeshare branded one, and revealed that the most sought-after breakfast was already up and running around the corner.”

As is usually the case with Lifeshare, MiksSian were given relative freedom when it came to the campaign. So long as they felt right with it, they were on board. “What they do always need is something that puts them into the conversation about homelessness and gets people visiting their website,” Mike adds.

In order for the campaign to work, the posters had to attract attention while maintaining a sense of cohesion for the swap to make sense. “The first set of posters were chosen to be light and contemporary in feel through colour and typeface,” Mike explains. “We needed them to feel like classic ‘breakfast restaurant’ branding for the trick to work.

“We also wanted the first and second rounds of posters to feel as physically close as possible whilst showing that there’d been a direct change. That meant keeping the typeface consistent throughout and relying on the introduction of the Lifeshare logo alongside the new ‘reveal’ colour scheme to do the heavy lifting.

“The secondary colour scheme dropped all lightness in tone and went for a much more striking black, white and yellow trio, bringing in the brand colour and contrasting it for maximum visual cut through.”

In addition to the posters, MikeSian also approached several media sites, aggregators, brands, and influencers to share the campaign far and wide. “The media landscape has changed quite a bit over the past few years, and it’s solo influencers and local food aggregators who have the power now to take something like this and make it really worthwhile,” Mike reveals.

“A campaign like this relies on that conversation taking on its own life online, hitting a whole different audience of people than the charity has access to. We’re all so thankful for those that got involved. What is quite a simple click, share, or repost is probably one of the easiest ways to genuinely change someone’s daily life for the better.”

Want to help out? Just because the twist of the campaign has been revealed doesn’t mean it’s too late to lend your support. Head to the Lifeshare website and make your donation now.

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