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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Virgin donates clothes to homeless for naked videos

May 22 2009
The strapline for the company‘s tacky campaign? "You take off yours, we donate ours" A Virgin Mobile publicity campaign which promised to donate clothing to groups helping young homeless people in return for videos of customers stripping, has been pulled after the company received a number of angry complaints. Last month, the controversial campaign urged customers to strip in front of their cameras and post the results on website, saying "you take off yours, we donate ours". For each item of clothing, Virgin Mobile promised to donate one new item of clothing to a young homeless person in America - an additional piece for every five people who watched the video. However, the mobile company was criticised by charitable organisations and church groups for encouraging lewdness. The Independent reported that Catholic charities from St Paul and Minneapolis had branded the campaign "distasteful, inappropriate and exploitative", while another group, the National Network for Youth, removed itself as an official partner of the project. Virgin Mobile quickly retreated from the campaign, replacing the word 'strip' with 'blank' and removing all the videos posted. Now they promise to donate clothes in return for customers' clips of them doing anything unusual - except undressing, presumably. Virgin has defended its campaign, saying that in just one week 15,000 items of clothing were distributed to young homeless Americans. At the time of writing, the Virgin Mobile website reported that more than $3.5m and almost 200,000 items of clothing had been generated. The website tells customers: "By making your video, you not only help us generate thousands of items of new clothing as well as awareness of the issue among US citizens, you also send a message to the million homeless kids out there: hey, we're aware of your situation, we care and we want to help." There are currently just eight videos displayed on the website, ranging from a man tumbling around a room to another riding a mechanical horse. Perhaps the naked video idea was more popular.