Promote reading with an URL lengthener

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 25-02-2014 21:30 | Category: Education, Media

Promote reading with an URL lengthener

Reading a book is enjoyable. Sadly, reading is out of fashion today. That’s why the Russian online store respublica.ru created a url lengthener to promote books thru your links. Preferably boring links.
Try this link and see how it looks like.

And this is the entire URL, including the first part of Vladimir Nabokov’s Luzhin Defense, the book I choose to recommend:

Try it for yourself here urliteratu.re.
And don’t you dare to use a link from osocio.org as boring link.

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Follow your heart. Also in advertising.

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 23-02-2014 18:20 | Category: Design, Media

Heartvertising: Mark Verhaagen

In social advertising, as here on Osocio, we are familiar with emotions. Because it is not about physical things but real people’s problems. Advertising to overcome problems. It is often about pain and sorrow. But almost always with a positive approach. About dreams and ambitions.

Why not a advertising campaign about those two terms? Advertising agency KOKORO from Amsterdam has made ​​such a campaign named Heartvertising.

KOKORO: “Former nursing home carer Bronnie Ware recorded the top five regrets of the dying. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

Twelve designers, illustrators and artists created ads that would speak to the hearts of passers-by and inspire them to pursue whatever dreams they may have. The project started February 18th and can be seen on 300 outdoor advertising panels, 100.000 Boomerang freecards and a local exhibition.

See all the ads here.

Ad above: Mark Verhaagen.


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Documenting the reality of online harassment

Posted by Tom Megginson | 31-01-2014 15:28 | Category: Media

Lindsay Bottos - Documenting the reality of online harassment.

Lindsay Bottos is a 21-year-old Photography student at the Maryland Institute College of Art. As part of her evolving artistic expression,  she posts a lot of self-portraits online.

While “selfies” get a little tired, serious self-portraits of the vulnerable artist have been part of our visual vocabulary since the Renaissance, and reached a fascinating peak in the 20th Century.

In the 21st Century, however, personal artistic expression is seen as an invitation to make anonymous personal attacks on the artist, via social media. It’s actually a grave threat to the development of our artistic futures, as real critics and public discussion have been shouted out by immature and cruel trolls.

Lindsay Bottos - Documenting the reality of online harassment.

Ms. Bottos has chosen to face the trolls in her own way, by producing a whole series of self-portraits embellished with the worst comments she receives on them via Tumblr.

Lindsay Bottos

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#NotBuyingIt… the App

Posted by Tom Megginson | 28-01-2014 18:28 | Category: Media

Miss Representation #NotBuyingIt app

#NotBuyingIt is the hashtag used by the social media feeds for Miss Representation (both the film and the movement) to call out sexism in advertising and media. And now, it’s an App as well.

Available for iPhone, it allows users to “create, join and win campaigns against sexism in the media.”

Miss Representation

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Storytelling: Not so long ago we called it oral history #ListeningIsAnActOfLove

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 27-11-2013 21:30 | Category: Media

StoryCorps: Listening Is an Act of Love

For a non-American, it was a pleasant experience to discover StoryCorps. I found this animated storytelling on Vimeo recently. And found out that StoryCorps started recording stories long before it became a new trend in marketing.
Real stories like this one from Gweneviere Mann.

She lost her short-term memory, following surgery to remove a brain tumor, she was forced to navigate life in a new way. But she wasn’t alone. With the support of her boyfriend, Yasir Salem, Gweneviere found she could tackle the challenges her condition threw her way—and a few more.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and their website.

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Play games. Save lives. Real ones.

Posted by Reuben Turner | 22-10-2013 12:02 | Category: Corporate Social Responsibility, Fundraising, Media, Social aid

It’s one of the biggest past-times in the world, and has bigger budgets than the movie industry. But gaming feels like the final frontier for social cause and NGO marketing. That’s changing, however.


The Red Cross has launched an international partnership with Electronic Arts, makers of the game Sim City. Now, when disaster such as a tornado, earthquake or hurricane hits your virtual town, you’ll be able to buy a Red Cross intervention team who will treat your Sims for their injuries. After development costs have been taken into account, Electronic Arts will donate at least $100,000 to each national Red Cross taking part – for them to spend on real humanitarian interventions.


Sim City player? Buy yours here.

The Red Cross
Third Sector

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Newspaper campaign challenges South Africans #UnderstandSA

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 23-09-2013 22:00 | Category: Education, Media, Poverty

South African newspaper Business Day: Understand your country, or lose it

This new campaign from the South African newspaper Business Day is provoking and impressive. The tagline: ‘Understand your country, or lose it’.
There are currently two TVC’s available. They are about poverty and inequality aiming to create awareness around major issues that South Africa is struggling to deal with.
The visual part is not so exciting, what is said even more.

Donovan Bryan, executive creative director at agency OwenKessel said to Marketing Update: “The intention of the Business Day adverts is to drive home the point of how the political economy directly affects every South African. This is not a paper aimed only at key decision makers and CEO’s, this is a news platform relevant to every South African.
According to our Freedom Charter, we all have the right to freedom of speech and an opinion, especially when it comes to the Country’s governance and policies and this is where we are able to support Business Day’s message of how honest and current reporting is critical to an informed country and an informed country can assist in facilitating change. Business Day report on stories every South African should know and we have never been more proud of a piece of work.”

The TVC below deals with the issues of education and governance. In South Africa’s 2013 national budget, the allocation to basic education is set at R17.592bn. Still, more than 90% of schools in the country are without functioning libraries.

Business Day

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Alyssa Milano does the most important sex tape of our age

Posted by Tom Megginson | 5-09-2013 01:04 | Category: Media

Alyssa Milano does the most important sex tape of our age

When I was a teenager, I admired American actress Alyssa Milano for ordinary hormonal reasons. But now that I’ve been exposed to her shocking (and shall I say… educational?) sex tape, I love her all the more.

It’s just below the fold. Watch it now before it’s gone!

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The Battle of the Newspaper Ads: Belgium vs Holland

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 28-08-2013 22:15 | Category: Awards, Media



The are currently two design competitions about non-profit newspaper ads running in the Dutch speaking lowlands. Both organised by newspapers. The Dutch competition is from NRC and it’s called the NRC Charity Awards. The Belgium competition is from the Flemish newspaper De Standaard. The name is Solidariteitsprijs (Solidarity Award).

Belgium vs the Netherlands is a well known battle. In all areas. Just like the USA vs Canada or Spain vs Portugal. And although I’m Dutch I have to admit that my southern neighbors have won this competition. Gloriously.

I compared this years entries. All from the Belgium competition and all jury nominations from the Netherlands. (The Dutch competition contains a lot more entries. They have two awards, a jury award and a public election)
In this post I show you my personal selection. Six favourites from the Netherlands and eleven from Belgium.

It’s noticeable that in Belgium visual language is outspoken. Strong, funny or harsh sometimes. Do know how to do the twist. Associative thinking that’s what makes a campaign notable.

Some ads are hard to translate, sometimes impossible. But in many cases the visual is strong enough to stand.

See all entries at our Pinterest boards. The Belgium entries here. The Dutch entries here.

Above are my winners. The first ad is from Oikos, the campaign is about Tax Justice. ‘Yeah!! We pay taxes.’ I wrote about it here.
My Belgium winner is from Memisa. The campaign shows the book series about four unpleasant personalities. Hitler, Stalin, Zedong and the mosquito.

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Hilarious poster campaign celebrates “adult” cartoons

Posted by Tom Megginson | 28-06-2013 17:05 | Category: Media


I love this campaign for the Ottawa International Animation Festival. It’s like “Where the Wild Things Are” meets Adult Swim.

According to the Festival site, “the Ottawa International Animation Festival presents the world’s most cutting-edge, quirky and important animation — and transforms Ottawa into the centre of the animation universe.” It also cautions, “all screenings are recommended not suitable for children unless otherwise stated”.

The Festival runs from September 18-22, 2013. More posters below.

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Ads of The World

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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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