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Remember Me? FCB Inferno & The Big Issue Launch Holiday Film Supporting Big Issue Vendors with Help from Ambassador Christopher Eccleston

Press Release - London, 11 December 2020

London, December 11, 2020 - The Big Issue launched its first ever Christmas Appeal film to help raise awareness of the need for support for its network of magazine vendors who are facing an unprecedented period of hardship this winter.

The film features the fond recollections of Big issue vendor Martin McKenzie has of his customers before the pandemic and contrasts it with the far emptier streets that he faces when out selling the magazine in present times. 

It also features a voiceover from Christopher Eccleston, who is a long-term supporter of the organisation, having first appeared on the cover of the magazine in 1996, and who was recently appointed a Big Issue Brand Ambassador.  

Christopher Eccleston said: "There has never been a moment when visibility and clarity of message has been more important.  In my new role as an Ambassador for The Big Issue I am proud to have lent my voice alongside Martin, one of the vendors, to this short and incredibly powerful film.  The homelessness crisis we currently face in the UK is a serious problem. I hope this Christmas appeal will make people think and importantly help, however they can.”

Martin McKenzie, who sells the magazine in Finsbury Park, London and who stars in the film, said: “2020 has been trying for me but thanks to The Big Issue, I have been able to keep my head above the ‘water’. 

He added: “The filming made me feel like a real celebrity. This has all been a great experience.”

In the film, created by long term creative partners FCB Inferno, we see beautiful footage of the times before COVID-19. The streets are full and happy, and we see people interacting with an unknown protagonist. As his poignant VO reminisces about how the bustling bystanders brought his street to life, we reveal that we’ve been seeing the world as it was through the eyes of a Big Issue vendor, who is now struggling to sell his magazines.

The voiceover comes courtesy of Big issue vendor Martin McKenzie and Christopher Eccleston ends the film with an urgent call asking for people to support the organisation and its vendors at a time of crisis. 

The film will be seen across Big Issue social channels, digital and website and asks the audience to support The Big Christmas Appeal by making a one-off or regular donation, or by subscribing in print or digital.

Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: “We hope that people take the time to watch this wonderful film, which gives us all a small insight into how tough 2020 has been for our vendors. Martin’s story is very moving and we hope it will motivate you lovely lot to show an act of social kindness and donate to the appeal, subscribe or buy the magazine or a gift subscription from your local vendor to enable us to be there for our vendors, both now and in the future.”

Frazer Gibney, CEO at FCB Inferno said: “Commuter hubs are hauntingly empty, and this is a tragedy for city centre businesses – particularly for Big Issue vendors who have been hit incredibly hard. This is a critical time for the Big Issue and we are asking people to remember their vendors, please dig deep and support them this Christmas.”

With two national lockdowns and restrictions in place, TBI has undergone the most challenging year in its 29 year history. During the first national lockdown, TBI launched an Emergency Appeal and thanks to the generous support of the public staff were able to support over 1,600 vendors across the UK with £600,000 being dispersed in the form of food vouchers, meter top-ups and other emergency aid to support vendors. 

During the latest lockdowns and restrictions TBI supported over 1,400 vendors with over £100,000 of support. Staff were also able to provide ongoing social and emotional support and connect vendors to access other services and support they might need. However, Covid-19 has seen slashed footfall in many city centres across the UK, resulting in a catastrophic loss of income for vendors at what would typically the busiest time of the year for them in terms of sales

The Big Issue is committed to being there for its vendors, and the increasing number of people who will need its support as the impact of this crisis deepens. But the organisation urgently needs the publics’ help to ensure it is able to provide this vital support to vulnerable people over Christmas and beyond. It is hoped that through this film people will be reminded of what makes The Big Issue unique: its a hand up, not a handout philosophy and the special relationship customers have with their vendors. 

To view the film, visit


For more information, please contact 

Ruth Law, Head of Comms at TBI, on 07976 680181

Or CC Clark, FCB Inferno on 07583 041722


Notes to Editors

About Gift Subscriptions service

The Big Issue has worked with vendors to create unique pages for each vendor on For those vendors who have chosen to opt into the scheme, when a customer visits their local vendors’ page, they have the opportunity to purchase a subscription for a loved one with a % of all revenues going to the vendor. 

About The Big Issue

  • The Big Issue is a social enterprise whose mission is to deliver a world that works for everyone. Creating and offering self-help and sustainable business solutions that dismantle poverty now and for future generations 


  • The Big Issue is an award-winning weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which offers a new hope for homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK. When vendors are able to sell, they buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income.  


  • Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face a range of issues, but all are experiencing the effects of poverty. Upon becoming a Big Issue vendor they receive training, are allocated a fixed pitch from which to vend, and must agree to adhere to a code of conduct whilst selling the magazine.


  • Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people.  




FCB Inferno is one of London’s leading advertising agencies, and part of global advertising network FCB. The network dates back to 1873, and now has 9000 employees in 90 countries, with 120 at FCB Inferno. The agency’s clients sit across industry sectors and currently include Sport England, BMW, Kimberly Clark, the Home Office and the Premier League. 

FCB Inferno was voted Agency of the Year at the inaugural Campaigns for Good awards. Over the past 4 years we have been recognised at Cannes International Festival of Creativity in categories including Film, Social and Influencer, Mobile, Digital Craft and Brand experience. We received two Grand Prix awards in 2015 and 2016 and were the second most awarded European agency - and eighth in the world - at the festival in 2019.  


Client: The Big Issue 

CEO – Paul Cheal 

Group Executive Director – Lara McCullagh 

Group Marketing & Communications Director – Zoe Hayward & Iain Morrison 

Head of Communications – Ruth Law 

Group Head of Marketing – Nashitha Suren 

Marketing and Communications Executive – Vicky Major 

Agency: FCB Inferno 

Senior Account Director – Hannah Thorn 
Strategy – Imogen Armstrong 
Creative Directors – Jess Giles & Austin Hamilton 

Creatives – Francesca Ferracini & Alice Teruzzi 

Production: FCB Inferno 

Director & Editor  – Alvaro Ramirez 

Producer – Livvy Tidd  

Camera Operator – Andy Muir 

AC – Kitt Sullivan  

Runners – Will Akbar / Joseph Sy 

Casting – Mad Dog 2020 

Photographer – Louise Haywood –Schiefer  


Sound – No.8 London 

Grade – No.8 London  

Flame – Ewanme