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Can fundraising marketers recreate the #icebucketchallenge?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 21-08-2014 19:11 | Academy | Category: Social Marketing

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Yesterday, it finally happened. Somebody challenged me to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.

If your internet connection has been broken all summer, it’s this year’s big meme. You can read about it here.

To be honest, I felt that the movement had passed its high-water mark when I saw Justin Bieber do it. But as all internet fads do near their end, it now saturates my Facebook and Twitter feeds. In other words, it’s impossible to ignore.

That’s great news for the ALS Association, who have seen a $30 million fundraising spike this summer. It’s also meant a great deal, personally, for people with ALS (and their families), like Anthony Carbajal to have this really brutal issue made top-of-mind.

But what does the phenomenal success of this fundraising meme mean for the future of fundraising? As a social marketer, I can’t help but take a cold, hard look at how things have — or have not —changed.


Source: Feature Image: "Crystal structure of hexagonal ice" via Wikimedia Commons


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Does social media have the power to change the world?

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 20-06-2014 14:40 | Academy | Category: Social Media, Strategy

Does social media have the power to change the world?

Does social media have the power to change the world? The answer is yes. But there are still many obstacles, like censorship and literacy. Three-fifths of the world’s population is not connected.
This video from the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia is a animated infographic about the questions and figures related to change and social media.




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Does Media Matter for International Development?

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 7-05-2014 13:59 | Academy | Category: Reviews, Social Media, Strategy

Martin Scott: Does Media Matter for International Development?

‘Does Media Matter for International Development?’ is a rhetorical question. From encouraging charitable donations and delivering public health messages to promoting democratic participation and state accountability; the media can play a crucial role in development.

How should we respond to the growing importance of the media - including journalism, radio, television, community media and social media - for poverty and inequality? The first step is to acquire an informed and critical understanding of the multiple roles that the media can have in development. That is what the new book entitled ‘Media and Development’ by Martin Scott is about.

In the video below, the questions are asked. There are no easy solutions. Nevertheless Martin Scott tries to give the answers.

The book is available from 8 May 2014 at Amazon.




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Is this eating disorder ad too sexy?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 20-02-2014 16:10 | Academy | Category: Social Marketing

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It’s a serious question. This woman has the typical idealized body of a model, and despite the scary body painting, the portrayal is undeniably drawing attention to her curves and bare skin.

When I think about eating disorders, I try to imagine looking in the mirror and seeing a funhouse reflection of myself that is always bulgier and heavier than reality.  That’s the really scary thing about dysmorphia, as opposed to just wanting to lose weight: it’s a chronic mental illness that can kill, because people who have it can’t see what they’re doing to their bodies:

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Source: Ads of The World


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Book review: Hidden Persuasion

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 27-01-2014 13:00 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change, Design, Reviews

Book review: Hidden Persuasion. 33 psychological influence techniques in advertising

33 psychological influence techniques in advertising

Designing for behavior change is our thing here on Osocio.  We discuss the wide area of social campaigns from all over the world. ‘Is it a good or bad campaign’ is our first question. And we often judge a campaign based on professional principles but also on personal taste.

Why are we influenced to buy one product over another? How are we stimulated to act and live more sustainably? How are we persuaded to adopt healthier lifestyles? Important questions for both advertising professionals and advertisers.
Persuasion plays the major role. And often enough persuasion is hidden. That’s what this new book is about. The book describes 33 techniques that we didn’t know it existed, but we do recognize when reading.




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Did the FARC know it was Christmas time… at all?

Posted by Monica Brasov-Curca | 9-01-2014 18:05 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change

In Colombia, trying to pull guerrilla FARC fighter out of the jungle and into an reintegrated society is possibly one of the most difficult tasks of working in conflict.  Not only are there personal interest that each individual fighter has, such as the economic, social and emotional stability one gains having power in such a conflict context, but there is also the stigma of reintegration that fills the heart of each fighter with untold fear and trauma.  And yet for the past four years, a Christmas time campaign has taken on this challenge with immense creativity.


Source: Eventures in Cyberland, Lowe-SSP3


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Nudity as activism – Interview with Petr Pavlensky, Red Square Artist

Posted by Tatjana Vukic | 10-12-2013 20:05 | Academy | Category: Interviews

Our world appears to be spiralling ever faster, ever more out of our control. We are more than ever linked with each other, bound together, depending on each other. At the same time we have never been as divided by class as today: class, religion, race, nation, gender – all of them tear us apart instead of bringing us together. First we stereotype everybody, including ourselves, then we put ourselves into any drawer just to make our own voice heard. Personality, character? They are no more. We conform to others. We desperately seek our individuality in a group that is just like us thereby becoming another anonymous loudmouth. Our protests become ever more extreme otherwise nobody would notice it.

Often enough outsiders do not easily understand such protests, such extreme measures artists and political activists seek out. Breaking taboos has always been and will always be difficult for everybody. That is the very point of breaking a taboo. Do I understand this way of activism? No. Do I know if this is the right way, will the new form of protest – one example of which we will learn more about in this interview – lead to reform? Or weill it just lead to a self-perpetuating cycle in which the extreme measure itself becomes the message? I honestly don’t know, and this is why I sat down with Petr Pavlensky to try to understand. Petr is a 29-year old Russian political artist. Before he nailed his scrotum to the Red Square earlier this year, he wrapped himself naked in barbed wire or sew his mouth shut to protest Putin’s oligarchic Russia. Most recently he founded the magazine “Political Propaganda “.

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Photo: Victor Ribas




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Artist gives shape to his inner demons   #mentalhealthweek

Posted by Tom Megginson | 10-10-2013 19:32 | Academy | Category: Design

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in several countries, so it seemed like the right time to share this series of illustrations by Toby Allen, titled “Real Monsters”:

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Although it could be misconstrued as literally demonizing people with mental illness, the externalization of the various disorders as evil creatures who prey on the mind (or soul) is as old as civilization. The characterization of depression as an ominous black dog goes back to Samuel Johnson, and was hauntingly referenced by Nick Drake almost 40 years ago (just before his death):

Toby Allen told Global News that he hopes to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren’t taken seriously.

“I found that drawing my worries and fears as little monsters would help me think about them differently and make my anxiety feel more manageable,” said Allen in an email to Global. “I began to work with these ideas and draw monsters that represented my worries and fears.”


Source: Global News


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Crisis Porn: the power of content curation

Posted by Monica Brasov-Curca | 8-10-2013 18:55 | Academy | Category: Ethics

In early October 2013 a boat filled with African migrants sank off of the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing at least 111 people, and more than 200 are still missing. Friday the 4th of October 2013, was declared a day of mourning in Italy.  The event has brought much introspection and concern.  News and Media, not withstanding has of course told the story of these migrants. Sometimes the content is important to educate, inform, or even to advocate, but on Friday the 4th of October 2013, I think the Guardian went too far. More after the break…..
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Source: The Guardian


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It’s October, and here come the #Pinkverts!

Posted by Tom Megginson | 1-10-2013 16:44 | Academy | Category: Ethics

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Call them what you want: “Pinktober” campaigns, “Pinkwashing”... our version is “Pinkverts”. They’re the annual rush of branded campaigns to raise awareness (and sometimes funds) for breast cancer and research into its cure.

It’s not all bad, of course, but over the years we’ve noted certain clichés that the cause could do without. One is the sexualization of the disease, using the serious and sympathetic issue as an excuse for objectifying healthy women’s nude bodies. The example above is actress Liang Jing — one of eight Chinese celebrities who posed nude for an “awareness” photoshoot in TrendsHealth magazine.




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Don’t count Femen out yet: An analysis of the recent controversy

Posted by Tom Megginson | 5-09-2013 15:22 | Academy | Category: Grassroots

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Via Femen International (Facebook)

Ever since I first heard of the movement in 2009, I think I’ve always been enthusiastic about Femen because they are so problematic.

The Ukrainian women’s group are anarcho-feminists who aggressively expose their bodies to the male gaze. Many of them (but not all) embody the beauty norms more familiar in porn and pop stardom. They preach women’s independence, yet are criticized for not being sensitive to the “modesty” values of Muslim feminists.

And now, the greatest contradiction of them all: Femen is apparently run by a man. Or so that’s what everyone rushed to believe, when The Independent reported troubling revelations about to be screened at Venice in Kitty Green’s documentary about the group:

Ukraine is not a Brothel, directed by 28-year-old Australian film-maker Kitty Green, has “outed” Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the group. Mr Syvatski is known as a “consultant” to the movement. According to the Femen website, he was badly beaten up by the secret services in Ukraine earlier this summer because of his activities on behalf of the group.

However, Ms Green reveals that Svyatski is not simply a supporter of Femen but its founder and éminence grise. “It’s his movement and he hand-picked the girls. He hand-picked the prettiest girls because the prettiest girls sell more papers. The prettiest girls get on the front page… that became their image, that became the way they sold the brand,” she says.

The internet was quick to judge, and throw their former darlings under the bus. I’ll admit that I was shocked to think that some dude was pulling all the strings. But in this age of wildfire memes and snap group judgements, not all is always as it seems.

Today, in The Guardian, Femen’s most outspoken member, Inna Shevchenko, wrote a response that was both heartbreaking and credible:


Source: The Guardian


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Interview: Mike Sukle about 9 years campaigning for Denver Water

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 16-06-2013 22:00 | Academy | Category: Interviews, Strategy

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I did a lot of blogposts about the Denver water campaigns made by Sukle Advertising &Design.
“Award winning, humorous, positive approach, recognizable, consistent style, understandable message and above all great artwork” I wrote recently.
The campaigns is already in it’s ninth year. Time to look back.

I did an interview with the agency name giver Mike Sukle last week about those nine years.
Mike took the time to give us a good insight from the agency side.




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Commander Chris Hadfield: Making space (and Canada) cool again

Posted by Tom Megginson | 13-05-2013 15:15 | Academy | Category: Social Media

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This evening (Eastern Standard Time), Canadian Space Agency astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield will return to Earth after five months orbiting our planet in the International Space Station — eventually serving as commander of the mission.

At 53, Commander Hadfield is a veteran astronaut, having been in space previously to work on the construction of the ISS in 2001 (which included a 14-hour space walk) and on the Space Shuttle in 1995. But this mission, which is likely Commander Hadfield’s last, has had a particular influence on public perception of space and science because of his social media activity.


Source: @Cmdr_Hadfield (Twitter)


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Strategy: Laughing Our Way to a Better World

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 12-05-2013 22:30 | Academy | Category: Social Marketing, Strategy, Talks

Africa For Norway: Laughing Our Way to a Better World. Saih.

Africa For Norway was one of the highlights we wrote about last year. ‘The funniest campaign this year’ I said.
Being funny was the strategy Sindre Olav Edland-Gryt explained in the recently recorded TEDx talk in Barcelona.

It’s Radi-Aid vs Oh Dear.
“By turning the tables the spoof video has sparked a lot of debate and self-reflection in both media and development organization.”

Sindre Olav is Human Rights campaigner for Saih and africafornorway.com. He is a self-trained communication professional and wrote his master’s thesis on religion and development. One of Sindre’s mantras is why creativity and humor is key to getting people involved in the fight for human rights. He believes that the repeat portrayal of negative images often creates apathy and a feeling of hopelessness.

The TEDx talk from Sindre Olav:




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Another review for Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute’s Design Activist’s Handbook

Posted by Reuben Turner | 29-04-2013 22:41 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Design, Ethics, Reviews

A while back, Noah asked if anyone from Osocio would review The Design Activist’s Handbook. Both Marc and I wrote a review, and Marc posted his first. That explains why there are two reviews of the book on Osocio. If you’d like your book reviewed, please get in touch.

Review of The Design Activist’s Handbook by Noah Scalin & Michelle Taute

This is an excellent book.

I wish I had a few copies on my shelf. I’d hand them out to all the young creatives and design students I meet, when they ask me the questions that all designers with a conscience ask sooner or later:

How did I end up here?
How do I change it?
What choices do I have?
Are there other ways of being a designer?
And above all,
How do I make a living without compromising my values?

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Research thesis about social campaigns

The psychology, the semiotics, the rhetoric of visual communication

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About Osocio

Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.
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