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Happiness Brussels Spies on the NSA

Spy on the NSA

Coming off the latest (not so surprising) revelations of the misuse of NSA data, Happiness Brussels has launched “Spy on the NSA,” a site which gives the the NSA a taste of its own medicine in support of www.thedaywefightback.org, “a massive digital protest against mass surveillance taking place across the internet today.” Among those participating today as well are Reddit, Amnesty International, Tumblr, Upworthy and Greenpeace.

The “Spy on the NSA” site turns the camera on the National Security Agency’s Maryland headquarters. Happiness Brussels describes it as its “own statement against the mass surveillance and privacy issues that are occurring right now.” They also wonder “how long they can keep the site online, before it gets shut down.” The site gives visitors the opportunity to record a selection of Happiness Brussels’ surveillance to share on social media. Check out the site here (while you still can), and, if you haven’t already, head on over to www.thedaywefightback.org to take a stand against the NSA’s abhorrent abuse of your constitutional rights.

Memac O&M Extends UN Women Campaign with ‘The Autocomplete Truth’

The latest in Dubai-based Memac Ogilvy & Mather’s campaign for United Nations Women is the affecting 1:30 video, “The Autocomplete Truth.” This short video comes on the heels of the virally successful print/online campaign launched this September that attempted to “start a conversation on the major barriers that are in place of women’s economic, political and social empowerment across the globe” — issues central to UN Women.

“The Autocomplete Truth” began, according to the Memac Ogilvy announce, when the team did a search for the term “women should” and were astounded by the sexist autocorrect results: “women should stay at home,” “women should be slaves,” “women should be in the kitchen,” “women should not speak in church.” The short video begins positively, with a montage of women’s rights achievements from women’s suffrage to Sarah Attar‘s appearance in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Then the video poses the question of where we are today, before answering with the troubling autocomplete results. It comes as a bit of a shock following the optimistic portrayal of women’s rights successes that precedes it, a perfect way to disrupt the impression that society has somehow advanced beyond sexism and illustrate the continued importance of women’s rights campaigns.

Although I don’t question the veracity of the team’s March 9, 2013 Google searches (location obviously has a significant impact on results), I wondered what my own Google search for “Women should” would bring up. The results were a bit more optimistic, with the top results: “women shoulder bags,” “women should be in combat,” “women shoulder exercises,” and “women should be allowed in combat.” I’ll take “shoulder bags” over “should be slaves” any day, of course. However, when I repeated the experiment with some of the other search terms from the print campaign, my results were pretty much in line with the those of the campaign. My “women shouldn’t” search had “go to business school” as the top result, go figure. Pretty depressing stuff, and ample evidence that discrimination against women is still a dominant force in 2013. Misogynistic commenters of AgencySpy, please stay the fuck out of this one.

There’s More to Toronto Than a Crack-Smoking Mayor, #MoreThanFord Reminds Us

By now (unless you’re completely cut off from all news outlets and/or in a coma) you’ve heard of the crack-smoking shenanigans of Toronto’s disgraceful, conservative mayor, Rob Ford. Ford recently admitted to smoking crack (following an online leak of video evidence), adding that it was ”probably in one of my drunken stupors.” Obviously, people from Toronto are less than thrilled about Ford making their city the butt of a million crack jokes. The fact that Ford not only refuses to resign, but also plans to run for reelection, certainly doesn’t make things any easier.

Marie Richer and Hannah Smit, two Toronto art directors, found it “depressing that a city as great as Toronto has been reduced to an international punchline because of its mayor,” and decided to do something about it. They’ve created a social media campaign called #MoreThanFord, an outlet for disgruntled Toronto-dwellers to express everything they love about their city in an attempt to escape being defined by one especially douchey politician. Richer and Smith describe the campaign as “a way for us all to change the conversation about our city by sharing what we love about it – from small things like a favourite coffee shop, roti place or bike path to bigger things like Pride, TIFF, Nuit Blanche, the Jays, etc.” (Although, given their dismal 2013 performance, you may want to leave the Jays out of it.)

The idea launches today, with the compilation video of Toronto highlights featured above. The campaign’s success is being measured at a microsite, morethanford.com, which pits tweets with the #MoreThanFord hashtag against tweets with the #RobFord hashtag. #MoreThanFord already seems to be catching on, currently leading at 53% as I write this. The #MoreThanFord site invites visitors to tweet what they love about Toronto, or to let #MoreThanFord take over your feed and tweet for you. It also allows visitors to watch the #MoreThanFord video.

I’ve only been to Toronto once, for a short visit, but found it to be a charming city. It’s really sad to see any city’s reputation hijacked by one crazy, crack-smoking, racist, crooked conservative nutcase. So head on over to the #MoreThanFord site, or just tweet something you love about Toronto with the #MoreThanFord hashtag to swing things in favor of the campaign and restore Toronto’s damaged reputation. But if you are looking for some crack, I’m pretty sure Mayor Ford can hook you up. Credits after the jump. Read more

Leo Burnett Makes Nifty Use of ‘Skip Ad’ to Symbolize Ex-Offender Struggles

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Leo Burnett Change has launched a new campaign for the charity Business in the Community, highlighting the difficulties and discrimination ex-offenders face on the job market for the “Ban the Box” project. “Ban the Box,” is a project “calling on UK employers to remove the default criminal-record disclosure tick box from job application forms.” To call attention to this issue, Leo Burnett Chance took an innovative and thought-provoking approach to express the prejudice faced by ex-offenders on the job market.

The interactive spot “Second Chance” (after the jump), directed by Dougal Wilson, puts the viewer in the position of an employer interviewing an ex-offender. Just after the potential employee reveals that he was released from prison six months ago, the “skip ad” button appears. But this isn’t to skip through the rest of the video. The employee in this case is the ad. Leo Burnett equates the hasty discrimination many employers apply to ex-offenders interviewing for a job with viewers hastily pressing the “skip ad” button to get to their desired content. This is where the video gets interactive. If the viewer presses the “skip ad” button he or she is brought back to the video, this time with a more dejected, less articulate ex-offender. This can go on for several clicks of the “skip ad” button until the job applicant becomes fully dejected and says “I’m sorry that you didn’t want to listen. I hope you can find time in the future to give an ex-offender like me a second chance.” If the viewer does not press the skip ad button, the ex-offender becomes more confident and articulate as the video progresses, eventually expressing gratitude to the viewer for listening to him.

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DUMBO Agencies Suggest You ‘Bill Boehner’ Via Tweet

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And so, the government shutdown has lingered on for over eight days now, and with no resolution in sight before the debt ceiling increase deadline on Oct. 17 (aka Judgment Day), DUMBO agencies Matter and Cooke & Co. are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore. So, they decided to launch a web effort that not only serves as a depressing, continuous reminder of how much the shutdown is affecting taxpayers, but a platform that lets you essentially send an invoice to Speaker of the House John Boehner for your losses. How? Well, how else these days but via Twitter. The image below basically sums it up, and while your efforts might prove fruitless, why not give it a shot during this woeful governmental gridlock.

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Stick it to the GOP at ‘Is This Job Essential?’

isthisproWhich government jobs are truly essential? The folks at “Is This Job Essential?” were tired of government officials making decisions about which jobs were and were not necessary. So they decided to use the magic of the Internet to put the vote to the people.

Isthisjobessential.com offers up government jobs and let visitors rate how essential those positions are, from 1 to 10. The site reminds you, under politicians, that “This elected official is getting paid right now.” According to voters, the least essential jobs are held by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, and Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnel and Rand Paul. Meanwhile, the five most essential jobs — National Lab Researcher, Passport Guy, The Person Who Helps Moms and Kids, The Person Who Gives Flu Shots and a Happy Police Dog — were impacted by the government shutdown.

That’s pretty much the gist of the site: that the politicians responsible for grinding government to a halt are still getting paid, while the people who have jobs contributing something to the country are being screwed over by the shutdown and/or budget cuts. It would be nice if they could give more information about each political figure, especially their culpability in the government shutdown, so people could make a more informed vote and so the sight could be a touch more educational. That being said, it’s nice to see people up-in-arms over the most recent Republican attack on democracy. (I’m no fan of the Democratic party, but to suggest that the shutdown was not completely the fault of the GOP is complete and utter bullshit.) If only someone could force Ted Cruz to look at this site, perhaps with some sort of A Clockwork Orange style eyelid-opening device, the world might be a slightly more just place. Unfortunately, if any Republicans do happen upon the site they will just use their well-honed “bury your head in the sand” powers to ignore its existence. This kind of thing will likely just be passed around social media amongst people who already agree with the site’s sentiments. But hey, maybe it will piss off that one Republican friend you have on Facebook who thinks this is all Obama’s fault. That’s something, right?

Creative Duo Introduces David Cameron Porn

Prudish U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron wants to ban porn and “sexual propaganda aimed at minors” from the Internet in Britain. The controversial proposal has stirred up quite a debate in the U.K., with heated arguments from both sides.

Henrik Düfke & Felipe Montt, two advertising creatives based in London, have created the perfect solution: erasing the explicit content from pornographic films so the viewer can enjoy the plot and top-notch acting taking place between the sex scenes. Their site, www.cameronporn.com features both modern and vintage porn, with all the sex bits edited out. The results are predictably hilarious, and are a great way to satirize Cameron’s misguided attempts at censorship while reminding us just how ridiculous porn films are.

Some highlights include “El Diablo Loco,” featuring a Spanish-language devil eating chicken, along with some comical cuts; “Peeping Dwarfs,” which features, you guessed it, peeping dwarfs spying on Snow White (we’re guessing that Disney didn’t authorize this one); “A Handy Electrician,” which concludes with the line, “Oh my, let me take a look at it”; “Mum Joins The Party” with a hilarious cutscene and perhaps the worst acting on display in any of these films; “Help Me Doctor’s” bizarre, “Nurse, Ms. Lovelace is done with her bubbles”; and “One Large Pepperoni,” which is pretty self-explanatory. But we won’t give them all away, check out the videos on their website. Surprisingly safe for work.

 

Graf & Co.’s ‘Climate Name Change’ Wants To Name A Hurricane After Michele Bachmann

Climate Name Change has started a petition to the World Meteorological Organization to name extreme storms after policy makers who deny climate change.

Barton F. Graf 9000 has put together a clever video supporting the petition, and it’s pretty hilarious. It starts by asking what ordinary people, with names like Andrew and Katrina, did to deserve having catastrophic storms named after them. Following this setup comes the proposal to name extreme storms caused by climate change after politicians who deny the existence of climate change.

To illustrate how this would work, they’ve put together some fake news stories about these storms. Some of these are really funny, leading to such gems as “Senator Marco Rubio is expected to pound the eastern seaboard sometime tonight,” “If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michele Bachman,” “David Vitter is literally lifting boats out of the water and tossing them on to the land”  and “…thousands of animals have been displaced or killed by Governor Rick Perry.” My personal favorite: “We’ve been here two days because of Congressman Paul Ryan. I have friends who are still out there. It’s scary, because I have no idea what Paul Ryan could be doing to them right now.”

While it would be amazing if the WMO actually enacted this policy, it’s clear that this is more a way to raise awareness about the dangers of politicians who deny climate change and their short-sighted policies. It’s a really clever and effective way to link climate change denial with the devastation that climate change causes, suggesting a clear link between climate change denial and the destruction of these catastrophic storms, while calling out many of these climate change deniers by name. “Climate Name Change” even provides a more complete list of “deniers and obstructionists” on their site, since there’s not nearly enough time to list them all in a two-and-a-half minute video.

Shell Doesn’t Want You to See This

Oil brand Shell really needs no help embarrassing itself. Their 2012 Arctic drilling program was so inept (including a rig grounding and a ship fire) that even the U.S. government said they screwed up. But Greenpeace decided to go ahead and give them a hand anyway.

Following their disastrous Alaskan campaign, Shell packed up and moved their Arctic drilling program to Russia, in a joint venture with state owned energy company, Gazprom. Greenpeace wanted to get the word out that Shell’s assault on the Arctic was far from over. What better place to do that than at Sunday’s F1 Shell Belgium Grand Prix, Shell’s biggest PR blitz of the year? Greenpeace International set up remote-controlled banners. The banners, which read “SaveTheArctic.org,” then popped up during the winner’s ceremony, as the German national anthem played. The second banner popped up just after an angry official removed the first one. Much angry crumpling of the second banner followed.

Video of the incident, entitled “Shell’s priceless F1 moment” went viral on YouTube, before F1 management demanded it be removed for “copyright complaints” just before it hit 240,000 views. The reaction to the video should only fuel Shell’s embarrassment. As Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe put it, “Bernie Ecclestone and Shell might know how to fill a racetrack, but they clearly have no idea how social media works. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen the moment Shell’s Arctic plans were uncovered at the Grand Prix, and removing the video will only encourage thousands more to laugh at the company too.”

Indeed, the video has been reposted by myriad other users, and is available at Vimeo and on countless blogs. Shell’s miscalculated reaction to the YouTube post will only add fuel to the fire of public ridicule. You’d think that a company that spends million on branding and PR would know better, but I guess there’s no underestimating Shell’s incompetence.

And Now, Your Weekly Video Miscellany

Since I refuse to play any meme videos, you’ll notice that this week’s collection doesn’t have gazillions of views. I’m a snob like that. Rather, this week’s content is a love-fact, avalanche back-flipping, condom-delivering foray into cool and smart and funny things. You’ll be entertained, assuming your brain works exactly like mine does. As an extreme narcissist, I can only assume it does. Here you go, like it or not.

5.Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, not to be confused with fictional Baltimore mayor Tommy Carcetti from HBO’s The Wire, has one thing in common with his surname almost-doppleganger; friends in high places. Here, actor and business owner and father of three Will Ferrell advocates for Garcetti in typical Ferrell fashion. For Spanish speakers, there’s also a spot by Salma Hayek. At just 34,420 views, Ferrell’s is just a little baby bump. Still, the man knows how to keep it fresh by popping up in random places doing fun things.

4. Back in 1985, someone started the first ever condom delivery service. It didn’t last. But the idea was reborn recently by a NJ college student whose company offers service in a snap. If you didn’t know, PR sometimes counts as “free” advertising. Because it’s free. And you have no control over the final product. Still, with 112,198 views, this kid’s company probably just reached capacity.

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