Friday, May 14, 2010

Helping the Homeless via an app? iHobo, hhhhmm

iHobo,a new app created to raise awareness of homelessness reminds me of a throwback to the '90's Neopets a.k.a Neopests. It's this year's equivalent of virtual "caretaking" - but with an apparent cause. Homelessness.

For those not familiar with Neopets, they were/are virtual animals that could be revived with cash, credits and virtual caresses - games after all - but I'm left wondering what is the point, or rather pointlessness of iHobo?

Homelessness is no game, nor is it entertaining. Has iHobo been created to build awareness of a tabooed and greatly misunderstood problem in our society? More importantly, can an app actually achieve that?

Some questions to iHobo's creators:

1) Is iHobo supposed to remind us that ad people are clever and can make a play out of any issue, any cause?
2) Is iHobo intended to build awareness of the issue and engender support from Hipsters? Will they really care?

Taken from a press release on May 10th, Publicis London says;

"By creating this app we aim to dispel negative stereotypes of young homeless people and raise awareness of the reasons that young people become homeless and the emotions that they feel. We wanted to create an app that would stand out and make people pay attention, and make people think about how they can make a difference."

Can an app do all that? I am undecided.

If you've got an iphone, you can download the app here or search for 'iHobo' in iTunes.

Or visit the dedicated microsite

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