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I would like to thank my friend Teodora Kostadinova for this simple and truly well done tutorial on how to get social plugins on WordPress. After almost 2 weeks of unequal fight with my blog, I made it in the end!

Great Tea, keep on the good job!

"Certain things hang on forever" by McCannon Erickson

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A few days after the most glamorous yearly appointment with the cinema in France, Cannes took the stage again by devoting an event to award the best responsible advertising campaigns in the “Cannes ACT Tribute” during the one week ACT Responsible Expo 2010.

During the Expo as much as 400 campaigns on social and environmental issues have been offered to the public in recognition of the astonishing job many ad agencies are carrying out – sometimes pro-bono – to give a voice to public and citizens concerns and call for action on hot causes such as climate changes, minors abuse, HIV diffusion, etc.

8 campaigns have won the praise of the public visiting the Expo that directly voted for the best candidates: among the different categories, the most voted campaign was “Certain things hang on forever” (above) by the Italian branch of the McCann Erickson agency. Also, the “favorite print campaign”, the “favorite film campaign” and the “favorite free card campaign” found their representatives.

Social campaigns exploiting the powerfulness of advertising to gain visibility and stimulate people’s awareness are dramatically increasing and achieving an important role in the PR industry: at the same time, relatively unknown communication agencies drafting campaigns for international bodies and NGOs are gaining the spotlight and growing fast. An outstanding example is Droga5, an Australian agency that achieved international acknowledgement with its innovative marketing solution for UNICEF, the Tap Project 2008, which lately got the free support of many other PR agencies.

Events such as “Cannes ACT Tribute” organized by the non-for-profit Swiss organization ACT Responsible can have an important role to play in order to incentive public recognition of agencies promoting advertising as a positive contribution to society and boost more many to do so.

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One of the many interviews released by President Barack Obama on the Mexican Gulf disaster has shown us a different man and a new approach to the issue. After all, it’s not so common to hear a chief of state wondering whose ass to kick, even if the situation is tremendous.  So, what a big leap from the great schlep to persuade Jewish granpas to vote for him..

But why Barak Obama’s communication is changed so much?

First of all, we have to recognize that the exceptional situation caused by the oil spill, with 9 million oil barrels still wasted every day in the sea, generated a huge ecological and economical crisis that is not affecting only BP reputation but also the President’s.  Barak Obama has been harshly blamed for his soft touch with BP managers and is currently considered, be it right or wrong, accountable for the disaster.

The crisis context doesn’t concern so much his role in the broader picture but his presumed lack of anger, his composure and even coldness coping with a situation perceived as dramatically dangerous. That’s why in front of the nth interviewer’s doubt whether it wasn’t high time to change his behavior and “kick some butt”, Barak Obama forgets the optimistic attitude that characterized his campaign and takes a tougher stance in the attempt to persuade the US electorate that he too is angry and wants to go deeper through the responsibility ladder. Did it work?

Some suggest this is an unwinnable game because it’s too late (and pretty useless) and any new attempt could be just seen as a bowing down before criticizers. It seems that for once communication is not enough to fix the thing. What people possibly expect is Obama to find a long-term solution to revitalize the ecological and economical niches affected, a sure path towards normality and stricter rules for risky business, maybe a leap towards the final shift to green energy.

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The first festival entirely dedicated to viral and unconventional videos, both artistic and commercial, has been hosted by the town symbol of Italian communication and cultural avant-guard, Bologna, from the 30/05 to the 3/06/2010.

Check out some of the videos and related contents here:  Falstival-live streaming

The Festival, despite (or maybe thanks) being conceived more as a party than an official art manifestation has gathered large participation for all its length, also because of numerous free events, such as video-making workshops and the projection of podcast confessions by the authors of the virals.

The event, which took off without great expectation, in just a few days managed to attract large media coverage and to boost the bunch of its sponsors. No doubts, we’ll be expecting a new edition next year…

Commercial, art, funny animation? Here it goes the winner of this first edition, enjoy!

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This is a ppt presentation on how to draft the logo concept of a political party that I have prepared for NPA, the New Party of Action, an Italian political group organized by young activists that would like to renew the Italian political scene.

The party, which belongs to an old and important political tradition but has no many followers by now, is trying to rejuvenate its image to start a media campaign next fall and sees the creation of a new logo – or symbol – as one of most relevant elements to design its communication plan.

Of course I am not a graphic, but what I am sustaining here is that the identification of the message or concept on the ground of which the logo is designed is crucial and must be regarded as the starting point of a coherent image and campaign. This message must be conceived as a recursive element amplified by any and every aspect of the party public life.

Finally, my present contribution aims at triggering the discussion and brainstorming among the activists to reach the true essence of NPA on which building a sensible request to a professional graphic.

CSR or revolution?

Posted: June 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

CSR, as you know, is the set of theories and practices increasingly produced in the last twenty years to enable companies to manage their role in the society. The public arena and the markets, nowadays networked in a whole tangled conversation, as the Cluetrain Manifesto warned us more than ten years ago are asking more to companies and what most of them have been answering is CSR policies.

These policies should allow the company to find its own decent place inside communities by running social and community programs, involving employees in voluntary activities, sponsoring educational initiatives, modifying their internal procedures and practices in compliance with most advanced legal or ethical requirements.

Now, everybody understands the the true issue for companies is how to keep attracting market shares that have become volatile, connected and much more aware of what is going on in the real world. Nothing is secret nowadays. A company bad performance or an unethical behavior is easily caught and brought up in the Internet public justice tribunal. None is anymore safe, at any level, even if managers are still earning fortunes. Of course, the hope is that a crisis event would be strongly mitigated by an irony reputation, just the one that CSR is called to provide.

However, an issue arises: if CSR is effectively working in providing scholarships for pupils, minimizing environmental impact, sponsoring sport competitions and cultural events, etc.; to me the question is not if CSR can be trustworthy for consumers and citizens’ wellbeing but, above all, if it is ethical or politically correct to accept money and services in exchange for the usual exploitation and disruption companies are bringing about, especially when they are more and more moving away from western countries to the south of the world.

The ecological and economical catastrophe provoked by BP in the Mexican Gulf is before everybody’s eyes, would be enough or, let’s say moral, being lavishly paid back without asking for real change in the oil affair management? Someone is suggesting we cannot: have a look at Supercapitalism, Robert Reich last book.

Moreover, in some evident cases CSR and charities are the means by which powerful organisations and their CEO clean up their bad conscience, so allowing themselves to keep on with their business (an example? the well known Soros Foundation, generously distributing grants to Eastern Europe students derives from its founder long time creative financial activities).

The suggestion might be that we should be not only mistrustful but openly hostile to whatever corporate means prevent us from clearly denouncing the ruin that the neoliberal economy and the big corporations are causing, no matter how friendly a new means as CSR is, and the concrete improvements it could actually provide or trigger within disadvantaged communities.

Yet, can we go on demonizing big companies while dreaming of a bloodless revolution or a natural catastrophe that should cleanse up our world from the misery of capitalism? If it was possible to get rid of all of them, could we get by without companies?

Personally, I’d like to keep a practical approach: if a new social sensitivity and the Internet non hierarchical culture are finally penetrating the company world making it more human and democratic, this is an historical achievement that could raise up new unpredictable scenarios and even if companies’ primary goal is still money, the good news is that it is no longer the only one. By acting the fiction may become reality.

Our global society can just be improved by a networked collective effort towards democratization and social justice at all levels, included corporate level: managers must be not only responsible in front of the public but reachable, as much as politicians should be. I personally don’t dream of a society made just of public institutions or NGOs: the true goal is to open and democratize companies and CSR could just work as a trojan horse.