My first reaction when I heard about this was ‘it’s a joke’… then I was amazed that anyone would think it acceptable.

Thinking the Ink

In one of the early scenes from the dystopian 70s cult classic Soylent Green the camera shows a largely homeless and grotesquely overpopulated New York City street whose riotous masses are cleared with dump trucks – called scoops – treated more like rubbish than people. And in later scenes the audience learns not only is prostitution legal, but the women that come with the little remaining luxury property that’s left are called “furniture.” Nice.

If only treating people like objects was confined to Charlton Heston-starring science fiction.

Instead, the recent marketing misstep by BBH Labs, the innovation arm of the international marketing agency BBH, has brought us all a notch lower on the “soylent slide.” Earlier this week, at the annual tech-fest better known as the SXSW technology conference, BBH Labs hired 13 volunteer homeless people to stand in as human mobile hot spots. Carrying Wi-Fi devices and wearing…

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