AcademyNew! Background, theory, interviews and cases on non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes.
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:
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.
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.”
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%.
Originally published on Change Marketing
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.
[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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
It’s simple, low-budget, and fun infotainment. Nice work, Mitchell and Gregory!
Author: Mark Woerde
Published May 2011
Publishing on Demand
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…
(Image via Straylight Press. Copyright protected.)
Tony’s hard-hitting photos have garnered worldwide attention, through shows and blogs. For his follow-up project, Live Through This, Tony got in deep. He allowed the life of one “User”, Stephanie, to become intertwined with his own, at one point allowing her to move in to his house (Tony is happily married) as Steph tried to sort her life out.
From the official description:
In the Fall of 2010 photographer Tony Fouhse asked Stephanie MacDonald if there was something he could do to help her. Stephanie is a heroin addict. She asked him to help her get into rehab.
And so began a journey that lasted nine months, that began in despair and moved through horror towards hope, that took twists and turns unimaginable when they began.
Told through portraits of Stephanie, photographs of her notes to Tony and in Stephanie’s own words, LIVE THROUGH THIS is a book that describes, defines and evokes that harrowing journey.
(Image via Drool. Copyright protected.)
Tony also documented this project weekly at his blog, Drool, and it became a gripping story full of hope, loss, frustration and little victories. From there, it became obvious that this was a story worthy of “old-school” publishing: a book. But after months of pitching publishers, considering vanity options, and even crowdfunding, Tony became convinced that there had to be a better way.
And that’s how Straylight Press was born. Tony describes it as ” A vehicle to produce and disseminate printed photo matter.” What it really is, is a community for artists to take ownership of their own publishing by selling directly to patrons.
In the about page, Tony speaks in terms creatives understand:
What is STRAYLIGHT PRESS? Or, more to the point, what can it become?
Like all things that are meant to evolve and define themselves, the answer will become more clear as time goes on.
STRAYLIGHT’s intention is to become a portal for the support and sale of printed photo matter. Books and ‘zines. Photographers’ projects in small editions, some with original prints. Occasionally certain projects will be brought to fruition, to book form, through using STRAYLIGHT as a venue for pre-sales.
The projects offered on STRAYLIGHT will be curated in the sense that when you come to browse you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to bump into. But it will want to keep you on your toes, surprised, too.
It would be counterproductive to define STRAYLIGHT’s mandate any further here. . .this thing is meant to evolve. And that evolution will have a lot to do with the ideas, the projects, and the energy and passion photographers and concerned citizens bring to it.
Straylight already has a number of publications for sale, but its inaugural pitch is to generate pre-sales for Live Through This.
[more after the break]
Cross-posted at Change Marketing
Marketing in The Round
By Gini Dietrich, Geoff Livingston
Published Apr 23, 2012 by Que. Part of the Que Biz-Tech series.
If the marketing leader in your life still doesn’t “get” that advertising, PR, digital and social media all have to be informed by a central strategy, this review offers you two options:
1) Buy them a copy of Marketing in The Round, and make them read it; or
2) Smack them upside the head with it.
Given that this roundup of current best practices is under 200 pages, I recommend the former option.
If you are the kind of person who reads every expert marketing and media blog you can cram into your RSS feed, you will not find anything groundbreaking in this book. You will, however, find it a very useful summary. Authors Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston have managed to take all the traditional and innovative marketing wisdom available to the motivated learner and put it into one system they call “The Marketing Round”.
It’s basically a hub and spoke system, in which the unified brand strategy/strategist(s) is the hub and every marketing and media tactic radiates out from it. It’s simple, intuitive, and so sensible you may reconsider the “smack upside the read” option if your old-school marketing chum who reads it doesn’t immediately become a convert.
(More after the break)
Human trafficking – it is the new slave trade, an action many of us thought be extinct after the US Civil War. But it is worse than ever, not least because many of the victims hand themselves over to get out of economic and political peril. They want to flee societies in turmoil, corrupt systems, they want to find a life they can build on their own. As is often the case, women and children suffer more often than men; they are targeted for prostitution and cheap labour. The problem is not limited to some Third World countries or undemocratic systems, Europe is a large part of it. Traffickers promise poor women the world, but they end up in some downtrodden whorehouse in Hamburg, Paris or London. That is surely not the way these girls intended to see the world.
Europe’s open borders and differences in laws help those trafficking in humans. Add to that the violent and chaotic societies in countries just at the limits of Europe and pimps can go about their business – with humans as commodities! – relatively safe. One such haven is Kosovo, which has not come to rest after 20 years of turmoil and war. Even worse, those sent to help the people of Kosovo - may they be Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians, Muslims, or Christians – are often involved in the crimes. With 50,000 KFOR soldiers stationed far from home, brothels “shot up like mushrooms” as Pasquale Lupoli, local head of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) once put it. Women from Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria are auctioned off to Kosovo’s pimps for between 1,000 and 2,500 dollars.In another war-torn country, also used as a transit for human goods, Bosnia, Kathryn Bolkovac started her tour as a police force instructor in 1999. She came as a UN peace keeper. Little did she know then she would become a sole fighter against human trafficking. Like so many others in the new imperial wars, she was not directly employed by the UN but by DynCorp, a private military contractor from Falls Church, VA in the USA, commissioned by the UN.
Kathryn Bolkovac accidentally found proof that employees of contractors - there to make Bosnia safe, ensure peace and a democratic society - were involved in human trafficking and abuse of children. Although she was on her own, was threatened, isolated, and eventually fired from DynCorp, she took it upon herself to expose the perpetrators. On August, 2nd, 2002 a court in the UK, where she had filed a lawsuit against DynCorp for wrongful dismissal, ruled in her favour: The company should not have dismissed her for exposing internal defects. Or ‘whistle-blowing’ as it is now widely known. Thanks to Kathryn Bolkovac’s efforts military contractors, who are only loosely supervised by democratically elected authorities, had to explain themselves in court. However, none of the US or European personnel has been punished, yet, regardless of how good the evidence collected by Bosnian police for weapons trafficking, buying women for a few hundred dollars, or forced sex with children is. Whenever possible law violations emerged, soldiers and employees were suspended, sent home, and dismissed. As long as they remain on US soil, it is impossible to prosecute them, since the US will not put their own citizens under the jurisdiction of a non-US court.
US courts see crimes during a UN mission as outside their province, local authorities in Bosnia and Kosovo are powerless. The International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague would be a solution, but since its inception no US President has acknowledged its jurisdiction over US citizens. I talked with Kathryn Bolkovac about her experiences, which she wrote down in her book The Whistleblower. (Bolkovac, K.: The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice, Palgrave MacMillan 2011 / Upcoming editions: Polish and Serbian) Under the same title her story has been filmed starring Rachel Weisz in 2010.
I recently had the privilege of being invited to speak and participate in the 2012 Design Ethos Conference/Do-ference at Savannah College of Art and Design.
The creator of the conference, Scott Boylston, is a longtime friend in the relatively small socially conscious design community and I was delighted that he chose to be included in a roster of many other like-minded folks I had know for ages, but most of which I never met in person.
Even more exciting was that for this second ever Design Ethos Conference Scott was initiating a new element: the Do-ference. OK it’s a silly name, but it got the point across: rather than just the typical days of keynote speakers and panels with a lot of schmoozing and backslapping Scott had the crazy idea to actually do something with the talent he was amassing.
The visiting designers, myself included, would not only give talks to the attendees of the conference, but be broken into six groups to work with local students and community members on real projects over the course of the 3 days we were there.
(continues after the break)