When Sean Dolan saw signs being carried by homeless people, he saw an opportunity. HOUSTON, Texas (CNN)

He and his father wanted to drive people to a Web site, so they created PimpThisBum.com as a marketing tool and gave a homeless man a sign with the Web site’s address to hold while panhandling in Houston.

Their idea worked.

Visitors seeing the sign flocked to the site and in less than two months Dolan received $50,000 in donations and pledges through the site for the man, including a five-week alcohol treatment program donated by Sunray Treatment and Recovery based near Seattle, Washington. Video Watch how ‘Pimp this bum’ saved man »

“We knew that the same campaign with a sincere appeal and a Web site like helpthehomeless.com would be ignored,” he said. “We knew that if we insulted people’s sensitivity or appealed to their humor ­ on a subject as sensitive as this we would get their attention.”

Kevin Dolan, with more than two decades of marketing and sales experience and his son, Sean, a Web-savvy college student with a small video camera and a passion for volunteer work, got the site off the ground with the help of Timothy Dale Edwards. He has been homeless and living under a busy Houston overpass for more than four years.

The Dolans’ offer to Timothy Edwards would be a hard one for any homeless person to refuse: $100 cash per day guaranteed, perhaps even more if the campaign was successful. All Edwards had to do was carry a home-made sign advertising “www.PimpThisBum.com” while he panhandled each day.

For Edwards and his friends it was effortless — they already carried signs reading, “Homeless, Please help” or “Hungry, Need a days work.” Video Watch Edwards describe “I went through detox” »

And the Dolans promised monetary donations that came into the Web site would go straight to Edwards.



~ by Simon on March 26, 2009.

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