Make Love Not Scars

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Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has been home to a myriad of beauty bloggers who post tutorials and other how-to makeup videos. But in a powerful new campaign for Make Love Not Scars by Ogilvy & Mather, the woman giving the red lip tutorial looks a little different than the typical 20-something beauty blogger.

Reshma, whose face has been scarred and disfigured, is a spokesperson for the #EndAcidSale campaign, whose goal is to curb the number of acid attack victims in India by limiting the accessibility to acid (you can buy a liter of it in any drugstore in India for about $1.50).

According to a petition that Reshma asks viewers to sign (which has over 65,000 signatures), India has over 1,000 reported acid attack cases per year, of which 90% of the victims are female.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative and powerful campaigns that capture attention and call for change.

Google+ is Going Through a Breakup

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Google+ has been suffering from what many tech blogs and business publications are calling a “slow death”—its initial launch established the site as an attempt to be a fully-integrated social platform, with its multifaceted approach rivaling companies like Facebook, Dropbox, WordPress, and Skype.

However, after failing to gain both traction and users in the social media community, it recently announced that it will be splitting the platform into three different components: Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. Hangouts is a video chatting service that will remain independent of Google+, photos is a storage space for images that will be added to Google Drive, and streams covers the rest of the Google+ experience along with News and Blogger.

While the idea of a streamlined, all-in-one social media platform sounded like a good idea, perhaps it was the ambition of the venture that led to its demise; users considered the Google+ login to YouTube a nuisance, found the interface unaesthetic, and the whole system a cheap Facebook facsimile.

Google has finally compromised, maintaining the best aspects of Google+ like Hangouts and Photos, and has removed the Google+ sign-in on YouTube, much to users’ delight.

The moral of the story: Don’t put all of your digital marketing eggs in one basket, especially if your product is at risk of being disruptive—and not in the good way.

What Sparks Our Fire: Google+ taking the next step forward and making smart decisions in the face of a highly-publicized technological failure.

Changing The Podcast Model

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If 2014 marked a peak for Podcast listenership (thanks in large part to the popularity of Serial), than 2015 is shaping up to be the year of redefining the podcast’s power. Midroll Media, the parent company behind the popular Earwolf podcasting network that hosts Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang, is looking to lead the charge with the release of HOWL.

HOWL is a new audio service and application that is aiming to be the “Netflix of podcasting.” And part of that means helping shift the monetization model for the industry as a whole. The service will house podcasts with huge popularity and extensive backlogs, and will put their old episodes behind a $4.99 per month paywall. Podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang (with over 370 episodes) and WTF with Marc Maron (which counts President Obama as a recent guest) will join HOWL and hopefully bring in listeners who can help fund new podcasts, podcasts with lesser known talent, or even special edition podcasts that might not be financially feasible otherwise.

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Traditionally, content creators have been able to monetize their podcasts through advertising before and during their programs. Podcasts have been attracting a small but fiercely loyal audience since their inception in 2004. Midroll learned through an anonymous survey of advertisers that 91.5% believe advertising has offered them a good value on their money spent. Companies like Squarespace and Bonobos have become known for their long-term dedication to advertising on podcasts, and this only makes sense if it offers them a high enough ROI. HOWL will continue to air the commercials embedded in new podcasts, but will ideally help monetize podcasts that wouldn’t normally be able to attract advertising dollars.

What Sparks Our Fire: Reimagining the model for monetizing podcasts

 

Vice Goes Broad

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Popular media website Vice has announced the release of its 11th channel, Broadly, which caters to female readers.

Its tongue-in-cheek tagline “For Women Who Know Their Place” is a tribute to its mission to promote broader coverage of issues with a female perspective, including “politics, culture, sex, and fashion.” While its content (reproductive health and fertility, gang activity, drug culture, etc.) maintain’s Vice‘s edge and envelope-pushing tendencies, Broadly aims to add a new dimension to such topics.

A major distinction from its other sites is the noticeable lack of comments section, in order to encourage civil discussion and a safe space. However, in true Vice fashion, it will focus on subject matter that is generally underreported by the mainstream media.

This marks an important shift in focus for Vice, capitalizing on the momentum of feminism in the media and seeking to carve out its unique place in branding culture.

What Sparks Our Fire: A digital publication expanding its brand by creating a space for candid conversation among women about prevalent modern issues.