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

Posted by Reuben Turner | 29-04-2013 21:41 | 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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Feminism, Islamophobia, and the complicated politics of global human rights

Posted by Tom Megginson | 6-04-2013 14:11 | Academy | Category: Ethics


Earlier this week, I wrote about Femen’s “Topless Jihad”. It was an international day of semi-nude protest against the oppression of Tunisian activist Amina Tyler, as well as a statement against conservative Muslim institutionalized misogyny in general.


At the same time, a counter-protest Facebook event emerged. Calling itself Muslim Women Against Femen..Muslimah Pride Day, it stated its purpose as:

On the 4th April. The so called feminist group, FEMEN has declared ‘Topless Jihad Day’ in which they are asking women to go topless and write ‘My Body Against Islamism!’ on their bare breasts. We as Muslim women and those who stand with us, need to show FEMEN and their supporters, that their actions are counterproductive and we as Muslim women oppose it.

So please post pictures of your beautiful selves, whether you wear hijaab, nikaab or not. This is an opportunity for Muslim women to get a say and show people that we have a voice too, that we come in many different shapes and sizes that we object to the way we are depicted in the west, we object to the way we are lumped in to one homogenous group without a voice of agency of our own.

Why do you feel proud of being Muslim? Why do you choose to wear the Hijaab/nikaab? Why do you choose not to wear it? Which muslim woman inspires you? How do you feel about constantly being Fetishized by the media/feminists/policy makers in the west?

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The Nu Project: More female body diversity acceptance through online exposure?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 26-02-2013 04:52 | Academy | Category: Design

The Nu Project: More female body diversity acceptance through online exposure?

The Nu Project is part of the online movement to show female body diversity to help women of all ages, shapes and sizes feel better about their sexuality. This one is shot by a man, Matt Blum, of Minneapolis.

Source: The Nu Project

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Book review: Design Activists Handbook

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 16-02-2013 22:00 | Academy | Category: Design, Ethics, Reviews


I started my working career in a printing house. It was in the late seventies, early eighties during the turbulent times in Amsterdam. The glory days of the squatting and anti-nuclear movement.
It was a logical choice to start my working career within those movements. Because of my study and interest in graphic design it all began in a human and environment friendly printing house. Looking back it was an important step in my life.
Consciousness of the things you do. We discussed almost everything. From the choice of printing paper to the content of the printed work. Together and with the clients and suppliers. That wasn’t easy sometimes. Buying a printing press was difficult because of the industry cartel. Recycled paper was hardly made. And suppliers laugh at us when we asked for linseed oil ink.

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“Thinspiration Fanzine” - Art, Activism, or What?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 24-01-2013 16:29 | Academy | Category: Reviews


Barcelona-based Laia Abril photographs anorexic women she has never met. Sitting in a dark room with her camera pointed at a computer screen, she reframes and recaptures photos she sees in online “pro-ana” and “thinspiration” communities:

I re-take their self-portraits, photographing and reinterpreting their images from the screen, resulting the visual response to the bond between obsession and self-destruction; the disappearance of one’s own identity. The project is a personal and introspective journey across the nature of obsessive desire and the limits of auto-destruction, denouncing disease’s new risk factors: social networks and photography.

The results are shocking:


Source: featureshoot.com (tip, photos)

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Canada’s long-lost, government-funded, NSFW anti-pornography film

Posted by Tom Megginson | 17-01-2013 03:09 | Academy | Category: Reviews

Via filmposter.net

I started subscribing to Netflix a few months ago, and one of the best things about it is the many obscure documentaries featured. One is the 2010 doc, After Porn Ends, which follows the retirement lives of several well-known sex performers in the United States. It was pretty interesting, and after I watched it with my wife I asked her if she had ever seen the classic ‘80s expose, Not A Love Story. Surprisingly to me, despite bookshelves full of second-wave feminist books acquired in her late ‘80s - early ‘90s university career, she had not.

Lindalee Tracey and Bonnie Sherr Klein, via NFB

Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography was released in 1982. It was directed by Bonnie Sherr Klein (mother of Naomi Klein) and funded by Canada’s National Film Board (NFB) a government-funded film producer and distributor. It was one of many women-centred films to come out of NFB’s Studio D project.

The movie follows Bonnie Sherr Klein and Lindalee Tracey (introduced working as a stripper at Montreal’s still-legendary Club Supersexe) as they explore the underbelly of pornographic movies and magazines, strip clubs, peep shows and adult cinemas in Canada and the United States.

via NFB

In the words of a reviewer at Internet Movie Database, “This documentary is an examination of the pornography industry such as in strip shows, sex shows, film and magazines. Furthermore, the film explorers how a large portion of it takes a denigrating view of women, leading up to depictions of sexual violence for titillation.”

Source: National Film Board of Canada

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Three things I learned while blogging about cause marketing in 2012

Posted by Tom Megginson | 31-12-2012 18:51 | Academy | Category: Social Marketing

I have been blogging about this topic, here and elsewhere, for almost four years. I started doing it as a form of professional development (I’m a Creative Director at a social issues marketing agency) and the process of researching and analyzing campaigns from around the world teaches me something new every day. Here are three themes that have been particularly evident in the past year:

1. Women know their own power, and they are organized


The words “slut” and “vagina” featured prominently in the run-up to the 2012 US election, and that conversation was controlled by women’s activist groups. They ended up being a major force in Barack Obama’s re-election, as his opponents held on to their policies of limiting reproductive choice: among unmarried women, who make up 23% of voters, President Obama was favoured by 67%.

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What the American gay rights movement can teach all social marketers

Posted by Tom Megginson | 29-11-2012 21:54 | Academy | Category: Social Marketing

Originally published on Change Marketing

What the American gay rights movement can teach all social marketers

Earlier this month, in the U.S. election, the issue of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples really got some traction. In one day, the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington joined California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont — well as the District of Columbia and two Native American tribes — in legalizing same-sex marriage. Minnesota voted down a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. And Wisconsin elected the country’s first openly-gay Senator.

All of this happened in an election in which divisive social issues drowned out economic ones. A great deal of time, money and effort was spent by political and religious interests on both sides. But somehow, gay rights came out on top. How did it happen?

First of all, if you filter out the louder voices on both sides and listen to the ground, you’ll perceive a change in the attitudes of average Americans. Last year, I wrote about what I saw as the tipping point on this issue.

But the cause actually did even better than I expected on election day. The credit for that, according to State’s Nathaniel Frank, is a result of a fundamental change in how the cause was marketed.

Source: Change Marketing (Crosspost)

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LA County porn to become one big safer sex PSA

Posted by Tom Megginson | 7-11-2012 22:09 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change

[via LA Times]

Last week, the LA Times revealed shocking statistics that sexual performers in Los Angeles have much higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than prostitutes in Nevada:

Sexually transmitted infection rates among legal prostitutes are negligible, the report said, because brothel workers in Nevada are required by state law to use condoms and are tested weekly for disease. Since those rules went into effect in Nevada, there have been no cases of HIV infection, and their infection rates were negligible, the report said.

Last year, an HIV epidemic basically shut down the “legal” pornography industry in Southern California. As a result, in yesterday’s election, Californians voted on Measure B, legally obliging actors in L.A. County to wear condoms on adult film sets. It wasn’t expected to pass. But then it did.

In addition to mandating condom use, Measure B will require sex film producers to apply for a permit from the LA County Department of Public Health to shoot explicit scenes. The fee will finance periodic inspections of film sets, and violations will be subject to fines and even criminal charges.


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A new era in social fundraising?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 18-10-2012 15:42 | Academy | Category: Innovation, Online


Anyone who has been involved in a social-media-based fundraising effort knows that getting attention and shares is easy, but conversion’s another story.

A few years ago, we helped the University of Ottawa Heart Institute brand, produce and spread an online campaign for Mother’s Day, featuring Olympic medallist Joannie Rochette. The iheartmom.ca campaign was popular among figure skating fans and women’s health advocates on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on related blogs worldwide, but fell short of its ambitious fundraising goals. (It ended up with a second life, however, as Joannie Rochette took “ownership” of the brand for her ongoing fundraising efforts for UOHI.)

A great cause, a charismatic spokesperson and a memorable brand. So what happened?

The problem was the limitation of Facebook, our primary medium. We set up a fundraising page at causes.com, which at that time had pretty good connectivity with Facebook. But while people happily joined, they were wary of giving their financial information once they left the “safety” of their social platform for a third party.

Currently, the standard practice is still to “link out” to a secure e-commerce application run by the registered charity or not-for-profit on its site. But again, there is the barrier of extra clicks, leaving your comfort zone, and spending time filling out more forms. But that all may change very soon.

Toronto’s Artez Interactive — a company that specializes in multi-platform online fundraising — has just launched the Friendship Powered Fundraising (FPF) app for Facebook.

See a video demo after the break.

Source: Change Marketing (Crosspost)

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Blog Action Day: Don’t give in to the Dark Side of the “We” #BAD2012

Posted by Tom Megginson | 15-10-2012 16:30 | Academy | Category: Ethics


Today, October 15, is Blog Action Day. It’s an opportunity for bloggers around the world to post simultaneously on a single topic that relates to social issues or social change. This year, the topic is “The Power of We”:

We choose this theme for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the popularity of the your suggestions; Community, Equality, Transparency/Anti-Corruption and Freedom, in our theme poll. Secondly, The Power of We is a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around [t]he world.

When I thought about how I’d represent this idea in a marketing context, I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my head was an ad almost as old as I am, from of all advertisers, Coca-Cola:

Times have sure changed. Now, “Big Soda” is the enemy of activist marketers like former CP+B  creative demigod Alex Bogusky. But, consumerism aside, was this hippy-dippy “we’re all in it together” dream ever even achievable? Part of me really wants it to be possible.

[more after the break]


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A review of “Goodvertising”

Posted by Reuben Turner | 13-10-2012 20:59 | Academy | Category: Corporate Social Responsibility, Design, Reviews, Interviews, Social Marketing

A review of ‘Goodvertising’, a new book about ‘good’ advertising compiled by Thomas Kolster and published by Thames & Hudson.
It’s a good book –a bit like Osocio, printed out.

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Non-profits: embrace the pearls for your cause

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 6-10-2012 18:23 | Academy | Category: Online, Social Media, Strategy

I bought myself an Apple TV recently. And I’m not the only one who connected the TV on the internet. It is the new thing to explore.
It changed my media consumption madly. Instead of watching the regular stuff I spent my spare time with exploring short films. And there is a lot out there. The kind of stuff I’m not watching on my desktop computer. Because I’m too impatient for. But slumped on the couch is a different story.

That makes me think. What can non-profits do with with new online evolution? The connected TV is in it’s early stages but you can already can do something. Without any budget.
Build yourself a playlist on Vimeo or YouTube and start exploring. As the title above says ‘embrace the pearls for your cause’. I see it as a new way of storytelling.

Source: SALT magazine

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Don’t worry — “The Science of Orgasms” is more info than graphic!

Posted by Tom Megginson | 7-09-2012 16:21 | Academy | Category: Social Media


I really love infographic-style videos like this, and have ever since I worked with Lee LeFever’s commoncraft  on “Preparing a Family Emergency Kit in Plain English” for the Government of Canada.

AsapSCIENCE is a YouTube channel that publishes weekly curiosity-quenching videos on the science behind everyday life and pop culture, including “The Scientific Power of Naps” and “The Science of Spider-Man”. It’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy for nerdy grownups.

Their latest video is perhaps their most “adult” — but is also something everyone should be interested in: The Science of Orgasms.

AsapSCIENCE is social as well, and they invite viewers to submit their own questions on Facebook or Twitter.

It’s simple, low-budget, and fun infotainment. Nice work, Mitchell and Gregory!

Source: Design Taxi

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Book Review: How Advertising Will Heal Your Business and the World

Posted by Monica Brasov-Curca | 2-08-2012 20:30 | Academy | Category: Corporate Social Responsibility, Online, Interviews, Talks


Author: Mark Woerde
Published May 2011
Publishing on Demand
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Free copy paperless copy at Letsheal.org

I became interested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a few years ago and was further intrigued after I attended “Conscience Capitalism” conference in 2011 at Bentley College just outside Boston, Massachusetts. There I learned a great deal from the likes of John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods and marketing guru Philip Kotler, things like aligning a brand with a good cause and finding a niche market for responsible advertising.  Yet for me there was something missing, it seemed the companies doing CSR were simply looking for a marketing strategy to attract a different target audience and thus expand their bottom line. They may have been looking to expand business to the healthy hipster type because it is where the money is.  The sad truth is however that but for a few, most did not have much to say about what it meant to actually “do good with your brand.”

More after the break…

Source: Interview with Mark Woerde and Book "How Advertising Will Heal the World and Your Business"

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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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