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Does Media Matter for International Development?

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 7-05-2014 12:59 | 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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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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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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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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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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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)

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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.


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Book Review: Do Good Design

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 13-03-2009 13:10 | Academy | Category: Design, Reviews

Do Good Design

For the last six years I’ve taught a class on socially conscious design at Virginia Commonwealth University called Design Rebels. I created the class after teaching general design classes and seeing that no one was talking about the issues that drove me to start my on socially conscious design firm in 2001. Namely that design is an extremely powerful tool for affecting change in the world and designers need to be making conscious choices about how and for whom they do this work.

Through readings, discussions, presentations, and self-directed community projects, Design Rebels introduces the students to the range of gray areas they will encounter in their professional lives. But when I started the class the only book that really dealt with the related issues was Naomi Kline’s No Logo and it was not directed specifically towards designers. Lacking a proper textbook I created a course pack culled from dozens of books and articles that represented the range of issues that I wanted to class to discuss. And every year I have added and removed articles attempting to refine it into a functional handbook for the students, while keeping an eye out for something to fill the void.

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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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