Osocio NL
image of an Ear


New! Background, theory, interviews and cases on non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Straylight Press: A new project in photographic self-publication

Posted by Tom Megginson | 20-06-2012 16:33 | Academy | Category: Innovation

(Image via Straylight Press. Copyright protected.)

You may remember Canadian photographer Tony Fouhse. We profiled his series of portraits of Ottawa street addicts, User, back in 2010.

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]

Source: Straylight Press

Read more | Post comment (0)

Book Review: Marketing in The Round

Posted by Tom Megginson | 25-05-2012 15:33 | Academy | Category: Reviews

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)

Read more | Post comment (4)

Interview: Kathryn Bolkovac - The Whistleblower - One Woman’s Fight for Justice

Posted by Tatjana Vukic | 22-05-2012 21:28 | Academy | Category: Interviews

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.


Source: Kathryn Bolkovac - web page

Read more | Post comment (0)

Making A Do-Ference at The Design Ethos Conference 2012

Posted by Noah Scalin | 30-04-2012 13:30 | Academy | Category: Design, Education

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)

Read more | Post comment (0)

Aaron Cohen: As Darkness Disappears – Fighting slavery today

Posted by Tatjana Vukic | 24-04-2012 19:21 | Academy | Category: Interviews

Some things in life are easy. We know them, we think of them, we understand them. And then there are those phenomena we would rather not know about. All the bad things … murder, rape, child molestation. We try hard to look away, and most of the time we succeed – until someone like Aaron Cohen reminds us that many people in the world do not share our comfortable life in freedom.
When preparing this interview with Mr. Cohen I felt very uneasy. What he experiences almost on a daily basis is the lowest of the low ends life has in stow. Aaron Cohen is a free-wheeling agent fighting human trafficking. Or slavery, as some put it.
It is not meant metaphorically, we are not talking about cubicle workers in New York high-risers in search for a rich living in the Hamptons. This is about people, most often underage, even children, sold by their parents, robbed from their homes to satisfy middle-aged man in city brothels. Man and women forced to work under inhuman conditions, beaten up and tortured regularly, raped 30 or more times a day. In real life, not some Hollywood adventure film set in the 1800s.
It happens now. Here. Everywhere. Human trafficking is taking place on a worldwide scale, it is not exclusive to some backwater banana republics.
Before Aaron Cohen started to look into the trade of human souls, he was more or less like many other young people in the West. With his friend Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction he grabbed life at its tail, celebrated every minute of it. Groupies, alcohol, clubs, drugs, parties. The usual. Until he found a purpose in life: Help free the slaves.
Cohen became a human rights activist, a specialist in finding those sold into slavery and those selling. He travelled South America and Asia in his search and rescue missions. His work does not consist of rushing in guns ablaze, he knows well that this does not help anybody. He talks to governments, connects with NGOs.
I talked to Aaron Cohen about his life, his mission, and the lives he saves. (more after the break)

Aaron Cohen is an author and human rights activist specializing in human trafficking.


Source: Thanks to Dierk Haasis for great help in english translation

Read more | Post comment (0)

Stefan Sagmeister creates with open perception

Posted by Tatjana Vukic | 2-04-2012 17:24 | Academy | Category: Design, Interviews

He is one of the most innovative contemporary graphical artists, the sage, the thinking man’s designer: Stefan Sagmeister. His most radical work was a poster he created for his lecture in Detroit 1999. The invitation text was scratched into the skin of his torso, then photographed with a large format camera, which made every pore and every drop of blood clearly visible.

Let’s see what Stefan Sagmeister tells us about his life’s lessons thus far.

Photo © by John Madere

Source: The interview was published on SIBICA magazine

Read more | Post comment (0)

Is He A Real Man? The “Vrai Djo” SFCG Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Posted by Monica Brasov-Curca | 7-02-2012 04:23 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change, Social Marketing, Strategy


In the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC, sexual violence is a community-wide problem.  Rape, in the DRC has been used as a weapon of war and sadly continues to increase even after.  According to the peacebuilding NGO Search for Common Ground or SFCG, it is estimated that there are over 400,000 surviving rape victims living in the DRC today.  In this environment violence against women has become normative behavior. 

SFCG says “the campaign turns common assumptions about male behavior in familiar situations, such as going to a job interview, on their head. The peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground, believes sexual violence is best addressed when men are active partners in the solution.
According to C-Picks at C-Change, Country Director Dirk Koch, explains “One often sees campaigns that denounce men’s behaviors and say what they should not do, but one never sees a campaign that motivates men to become positive, to find their inner strength, and to respect women and girls.”

The Vrai Djo Campaign features five short films and three audio spots which are broadcasted throughout the country. The PSAs (Public Service Announcements) feature Celeo Scram, “a Congolese superstar with a positive image”, In the spots he says he says “A real man (Vrai Djo) is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to control himself.

The campaign instead shows a person who respects himself and respects the women and girls around him.” The films portray scenarios that often lead to sexual harassment or abuse which would be familiar in the Congolese context (e.g., a job interview or a wife returning late from work) and shows instead opportunities for men to support the women in their lives.


Source: Search For Common Ground

Read more | Post comment (0)

Talk: Craig Newmark on Building a Community of Trust

Posted by Ana Yoerg | 1-02-2012 22:31 | Academy | Category: Online, Social Media, Talks

In the movie Hot Tub Time Machine, John Cusack goes “back to the future” and discovers that his friend Lou has become incredibly wealthy due to a little search-engine-that-could that he aptly named “Lougle.” It’s a fun example of how an individual’s name can become a familiar household term based on a single choice to use that name in a product.

Can you think of another example of this? You got it—craigslist. In the States, craigslist is synonymous with connection. Hundreds of thousands of people utilize the ad-free website to find jobs, frisbee leagues, used furniture, and to barter their services. The founder of this incredible site is Craig Newmark, a self-professed nerd who has dedicated his life to customer service.


At the iStrategy conference on global digital marketing in San Francisco, Craig Newmark was not there to speak about his great invention. Rather, he wanted to talk about where he’s putting his energies now: craigconnects.

At first look, craigconnects seems to be a way for him to organize his personal efforts on giving back: military veterans, technology for good, and back-to-basics journalism. And right now, it is. But a few points that were brought up in his talk on how to build a community of trust provide a few hints as to the potential of his own model.

Read more | Post comment (0)

Social Photography in your Communication Strategy: Instagram

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 17-01-2012 21:30 | Academy | Category: Online, Interviews, Strategy

Instagram is huge. Recently it became the largest mobile social network. Remarkable because the social photography app is only available for the iPhone until now.
I started with Instagram also last year. I stopped with Twitter and now I’m trying to express myself without words. I love it.

I was curious if brands, and in particular non-profits, use the network in their communication strategy. That was a disappointing search.
Socialfresh published an article in the autumn last year with a small list of brands using Instagram. And I found a smaller list of non-profits.

One of them is charity: water, the non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Gorgeous pictures from their field work and inside pictures which give the viewer a nice insight in their work.
I spoke with Paull Young lately, the Director of Digital at charity: water. I was curious about their thoughts and strategy. Read it after the break.

Clean water from a charity: water project in Brus Laguna, Honduras.

Social Photography in your Communication Strategy: Instagram - charity: water

Read more | Post comment (2)

Interview: David de Rothschild gives nature a voice

Posted by Tatjana Vukic | 30-12-2011 09:20 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change, Interviews

David de Rothschild is an adventurer, environmentalist, eternal optimist and the founder of myoo.com a group that uses exploration, adventure and storytelling as a way to give nature a voice. David is leading a new generation of action-oriented change makers and reigniting a collective spirit of hope that the fate of our planet can be rewritten. Driven by his immeasurable curiosity for the natural world he has journeyed to both poles and ventured to some of the most remote and fragile ecosystems on our planet in order to bring widespread attention and innovative solutions to urgent global environmental issues.

Photo: Matthew Grey

In 2006, David spent over 100 days crossing the Arctic from Russia to Canada, which made him the youngest British person, to ever reach both geographical poles. By then he had already become one of only 14 people ever to cross the continent of Antarctica, and was part of a team that broke the world record for the fastest ever crossing of the Greenland ice cap. In 2007, David led a field expedition to the rainforest of Ecuador, to draw attention to the damage international oil companies have caused by drilling the vast oil reserves.

Underlying this is David’s unwavering belief that we must work together and question a ‘that’s just the way we’ve done it’ mentality, best exemplified in David’s 2010 expedition; the Plastiki. In early 2010 he sailed across the Pacific Ocean on a catamaran made buoyant by 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles to alert the world to the shocking effects of single use plastics on the health of our oceans. The message and journey was seen and heard around the world by millions.

In November 2011 David and a core crew traveled into the heart of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest to discover the effects of the controversial Belo Monte dam project as part of MYOO’s ARTiculate series.
David is recognized as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Clean up the World Ambassador, UNEP Climate Hero and a Young Global Leader respectively.

Read the interview after the break.

Read more | Post comment (0)

The campaign evaluation is also something to share

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 29-11-2011 21:52 | Academy | Category: Reviews, Interviews, Strategy

In all stages of campaigning the final stage is the one which is mostly invisible for the outside world. We write for over six years now about nonprofit campaigns and we rarely see the results. The results that’s what matters finally.
The result of a fundraising campaign is clear. It is about the final amount. In awareness campaigning it is more difficult. A goal like behaviour change is difficult to calculate. 
It don’t have to be hard figures. Within an organization a campaign evaluation is a routine. But how is that for the outside world? For all volunteers?

At Osocio we judge mostly on design or copy. Now we are talking about the results.

imageThat’s why I was pleasantly surprised when Priscilla Brice-Weller shared her campaign evaluation on Google+ and Facebook.

Priscilla did a campaign with her organization All Together Now earlier this year. The campaign with the name Give Racism The Finger was the first national campaign to erase racism in Australia.
We wrote about it in May this year.

She published the evaluation on the All Together Now website using Storify.
I talked with Priscilla last week about this evaluation.

NGOs seldom publish a review of their campaign results. Why did you do it?

One of the key strategies we decided on when we started All Together Now in 2010 was that all our work would be evidence-based. This includes publicly sharing the results of our programs to show what works and what doesn’t in anti-racism campaigning (i.e. providing evidence).
So we published a review because doing so is at the very core of our work. The more creative the review is, the more likely people are to read it.

Read more after the break.


Read more | Post comment (0)

John Thackara: Design for things that matter

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 24-11-2011 20:35 | Academy | Category: Design, Talks

Lecture on the Department of Design’s introduction course for the new MA students “Wellbeing in the Age of Wicked Problems”. That was in Aalto in Finland.
The course was about the theme of wellbeing, the complex challenges and opportunities that design faces today and tomorrow. Design is now more thought as a strategic and public activity, where in the projects we recognise the needs of the other client, the humankind.

John Thackara is a writer, speaker and design producer, and director of Doors of Perception. He is blogger at Design Observer and he is the author of twelve books including In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World and Wouldn’t It Be Great If….

Source: Aalto University MEDIA FACTORY

Read more | Post comment (0)

Exclusive interview with FEMEN’s founder, Anna Hutsol

Posted by Tom Megginson | 2-08-2011 12:31 | Academy | Category: Interviews, Talks

Anna Hutsol, the founder and leader of Ukraine's FEMEN movement

A few weeks ago, I contacted Anna Hutsol, the founder and leader of Ukraine’s FEMEN movement, for an interview via Facebook. It proved difficult, as Anna is not only extremely busy but we speak different languages and required the services of a translator.

FEMEN have risen from being a local protest group in Kiev, known for their use of nudity and street theatre to protest Ukrainian sex tourism, to an international phenomenon tackling issues such a nuclear power and Saudi bans on women driving. The frank sexuality of their protests have gained them worldwide media attention, and they continue to build social media solidarity with other activist groups through FEMEN - International Support Team (FIST). They even, famously, bullied Mark Zuckerberg into reinstating their Facebook account after it was removed due to all the topless posts.

This morning, I finally received my answers in broken English. Anna did not address all my questions, but she did provide some insights into FEMEN’s origins, its mission, and its future.

I have taken the liberty of “cleaning up” the English responses. (* I have also included the raw translations of answers following, in case there is any misunderstanding.)


OSOCIO: How was the idea of FEMEN first conceived?

Anna: It was not difficult, as everyone knows how many problems are here in Ukraine and as Ukrainian girls we feel that every day in our minds and bodies. So all we needed was to be brave enough to tell the world about it. That’s why we decided to show that women are protesting, and to use our bodies as weapon in the fight.

OSOCIO: Have your objectives changed since then?

Anna: Yes, we have added many objectives to our program. But like in the beginning we still demand to stop sex tourism and prostitution in Ukraine. We demand to
let women develop themselves.

OSOCIO: How do you respond to critics who say that topless protest objectifies women?

Anna: As young, simple Ukrainian girls, we believe in what we are doing,  and we know what we need to do to protect ourselves. FEMEN was trying different
ways of fighting and in our experience we understood that only radical things can change the situation. At this time, in this country, only radical women’s protest can shake the world of passive women.

More Q&As and pictures (nudity) after the break.

Source: FEMEN Movement

Read more | Post comment (0)

Walking With Sluts

Posted by Tom Megginson | 4-04-2011 13:01 | Academy | Category: Interviews

Slutwalk Toronto happened today, as scheduled. Some 1500 women, men, and people of all gender expressions, converged in front of the Ontario Provincial Legislature at Queen’s Park, and marched peacefully to police headquarters on College St. This was in response to an incident on January 24th, when a Toronto Police spokeperson caused widespread outrage by suggesting that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.

A group of Toronto women took to social media to organize a show of strength against the blaming of rape victims by the system.

photo by Woresh Mean

A couple of days ago, I conducted an e-mail interview with Sonya JF Barnett, one of the lead organizers of the event.

Q: How did you feel when you first heard the words “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” coming from the Toronto Police?

A: Absolutely appalled. Even though I’m engaged in a sexually liberated and creative community that uses the modern definition of the word ‘slut’, hearing it slung from a police officer was very disheartening. I knew exactly what context he had used it in {as an epithet} and I realized that education in the use of the word was important for our protective services.

Q: How did the concept of Slutwalk come about? Were you influenced by any other movements?

A: SlutWalk was conceptualized as a reaction to the harshness of the word. If it was going to be slung out, we were going to sling it back, with our own spin. We weren’t influenced necessarily by specific movements, but by simple motivation to do something. Our team is a spirited bunch that are confident in standing up for what we believe in.

(Interview continued after the break)

Source: Slutwalk Toronto

Read more | Post comment (0)

About Fearless & Common Revolution: Alex Bogusky

Posted by Tatjana Vukic | 7-03-2011 12:06 | Academy | Category: Interviews, Talks

It looks as if we are on a sure way to self-destruction. All the signs are pointing to it: climate change, environmental issues,  world hunger, water pollution, air pollution, insufficient drinking water for billions of people ... The list goes on and seems to grow longer every day.

At times even the most optimistic despair in light of all this. The major driving force of all these problems seems to be an almost ideological way of consumption, some already call ‚consumerism’.
We consume without thinking. We consume without a conscience.

Everybody is part of this, everybody consumes: food, clothing, devices and machines, energy … We use up a lot but don’t think much about it. We do not give a thought about what we consume, how we consume, if we do damage to ourselves, others, or the environment.
Are we really that unscrupulous or have we just become complacent, thinking we cannot change anything?

Alex Bogusky believes in the influence of the buyer, he sees revolutionary power with us, the shoppers. According to him, it is time to expect more from companies and brands.

He initiated the projects “FearLess” and “Common” to create a new agreement between consumers and corporations.

I spoke with Alex Bogusky about his projects, about the Fearless and the Common Consumer Revolution.


Source: The interview was published on SIBICA magazine

Read more | Post comment (0)

Some rights reserved 2005-2013 Osocio/Houtlust.
Disclaimer. Terms of use. Privacy statement.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Support us

Do you like our blog? Support us with a donation.
We're non-commercial. We all make Osocio pro bono in our spare time and we can use some support.

Research thesis about social campaigns

The psychology, the semiotics, the rhetoric of visual communication

Read more

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.
Read more

(the about page is also available in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese 汉语/漢語, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Nihongo 日本語, Ivrit עברית, Filipino, Polski, Português, Russian Русский язык, Slovenčina, Suomi, Svenska and Türkçe)