Five Pointed Questions: Marc van Gurp (Osocio)

This is the first installment of what I plan to be a regular feature on Change Marketing: Five Pointed Questions.

Over the past two years, I have met a number of interesting and influential people involved in social marketing and/or social media. I thought it would be interesting for Change Marketing readers to meet some of these “Stars” of the online social scene through five pointed (short, direct, and personal) questions about their involvement.

My first victim… sorry, “subject”… is Marc van Gurp, founder and owner of the international social marketing blog Osocio. Started as a personal blog, and based at Marc’s home in the Netherlands, Osocio has evolved into a cooperative network of social marketing bloggers from around the world. (I joined in March of this year.) With growing influence, Osocio consistently appears on the AdAge Power 150, and is often used as a source by well-known ad industry blogs such as AdFreak, Copyranter, and AdRants.

So here’s Marc…

1) What prompted you to start blogging about non-profit campaigns?

More than five years ago I wanted to start my own design firm. And cause-related design was what interested me the most. Starting a blog was the easiest way to collect work from others, for inspiration. In a split second, I registered some blog software. There was no intention to share it with others at first. But that changed very quickly.

2) What is the best “social advertising” campaign you’ve ever seen?

My favourite art director is Erik Vervroegen from TBWAParis. I like all of his work.

But the best campaign is one that I featured in one of my first blogposts. Maybe it was because at that time, everything was new to me, but it still impresses me today:

My commentary is written in Dutch, but you don’t need much imagination what the campaign is about. Guerilla and ambient marketing tactics like this were a novelty to me back then.

3) What are some common mistakes made by social marketers?

A good campaign is more than just one gorgeous piece of artwork. A great visual is like cleavage: Nice to see but not the whole picture. 🙂

What I find many campaigns lack is next steps: further information, a realistic call to action, and — in fundraising campaigns — the advertiser’s financial accountability.

4) You seem ambivalent about “shock” tactics. Do you believe they work?

They can work in the short term to get attention. But if you keep using them they will work against the cause because they lose their effectiveness after the initial hit. You have to keep increasing the shock or they don’t feel it. So you end up in a kind of arms race with the audience’s cynicism.

5) Do you feel that advertising — both commercial and social — has become too sexualized?

No, I think it’s our society that has become too sexualized. And I’m guilty too 🙂

Advertising is the mirror of our society. It can be a social leader, like other art forms, but in most cases it isn’t. It just reflects what’s already there.



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