Poverty Pitch

The intersection of American business and global poverty

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[Videos] Get Ready Social Media, Because Social IMPACT Media is Taking Over

Screenshot from The Girl Store video: "We wanted to do something about it"

Screenshot from The Girl Store video

Today on Twitter I read a tweet by GOOD that mentioned a Media for Social Impact conference that will be hosted by the United Nations Office for Partnerships and PVLIC Foundation tomorrow (4/11/2014). I immediately clicked the link, seeing that this title alone encapsulates my passion, my goal in life, my obsession. I cannot believe they made a whole conference about it! After mentally adding this conference to my life’s bucket list, I explored the website and found these 6 commercials that amplify a positive social message. Each topic was completely different from the rest, but they were all beautiful messages worth sharing. Here is my personal ranking of the 5 company ads featured on that site:

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[Video] The #GlobalPOVProject: “Can We Shop To End Poverty” With Ananya Roy

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How does our consumerism shape the way we think of poverty around the world?

One of the main questions that pushed me to start this blog in the first place. Here is a sneak peek into one of the most eye-opening classes I ever took at Cal – Professor Roy’s Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium.


[Video] Act local, share global: Facebook user shares localized solutions to Philippine poverty

One status message, one comment, starts a movement for education in Layag Layag, Philippines.

The world’s most popular social networking site: Facebook launched a side-project called FacebookStories. This blog-style website encourages Facebook users to submit inspiring stories of people using their Facebook accounts for big things. Their most recent post is a heartwarming video about one’s user’s efforts to build a strong connection with impoverished children in my home country, the Philippines. Watch the story (and its surprisingly amazing cinematography) below.

The video came with the description: “When Jay Jaboneta heard that a group of children have to swim to school, he started a fundraiser on Facebook to buy them a boat—only to realize that the solution required a more local perspective.” – Story posted by: Peter Jordan

Not another advocacy

Jay Jaboneta’s story isn’t like most of the fundraising charity stories that I often see and share on my newsfeed. Seeing that it was a Facebook featured story, I was expecting it to be another case of social media charity. You know the type. It goes from a sob story to a happily ever after all thanks to the amazing power of online social networking and advocacy. These often come with a picture of a child and their new shoes/books/clothes/school/etc that were donated thanks to the supportive people who ‘liked’ the cause.

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[Video] Confessions of a Conscious Consumer

More and more brands are jumping on the trend to be “socially responsible.” They say that those who buy these products are “conscious consumers” who care about the issues in the world. But what are the real reasons that people buy socially responsible products? I asked 10 consumers to give me their answers, and I investigated just how aware people are of these companies’ good deeds.


[Video]Not so transparent filter bubble blocks view of the world

Eli Pariser discussing the Filter Bubble

Eli Pariser discussing the Filter Bubble at the Knight Foundation’s Media Learning Seminar 2012
(Photo Credit: Knight Foundation via Creative Commons)

We’re not really surfing the web anymore, but rather, we’re lying on the shore and waiting for the right websites to wash over us. In his book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, Eli Pariser writes about the internet and how websites such as Google, Facebook, and Youtube tailor the content we see to the information that these sites gather from our online activity. This personalized practice creates what Pariser calls the “filter bubble” (you can visit Nupur Behera‘s website “Bursting the [Filter] Bubble” or watch her video below to find out exactly how this works).

Pariser writes, “in a personalized world, important but complex or unpleasant issues-the rising prison population, for example, or homelessness-are less likely to come to our attention at all” (18). This means that although the bubble allows us to get content that we probably care more about, it blocks us away from social issues that we may not have been aware of before.

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Just go with the cashflow: profit motive good for society

Futurama Fry saying "not sure if profit is selfish or socially responsible"

Futurama Fry talks about profit
(meme created via http://memegenerator.net)

The Triple Pundit dedicates a whole section of its website to a collection of blog posts offering different perspectives on what it means for a business to be “Socially Responsible.” Helping the environment, looking at social impact, pushing for consumers to make conscious decisions … these seem like normal CSR tag lines that I’ve seen in the past. However, one article caught my eye because it argues for what would seem like a counter-view to the “lets save the world” attitude of CSR. According to Jonathan Mariano, the main social responsibility of businesses is…(are you ready for it?)…increasing profit!

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Ad, advocacy, added clutter on a box? What do you see?

Explanation of Whole Food's social mission on the side of their cereal box

Ever look at the side of a Whole Food’s cereal box?

Get excited! Photo essay coming soon to a blog post near you!

All this time I’ve been looking at businesses and giving my own 2 cents on the way they represent poverty. But those posts have just shown my take on it. What are the real reasons people buy socially responsible products? Do we still remember these reasons 10 days after we buy something or the next time we see the same brand?

For the next week, I will be searching for “conscious consumers” to find out what they really think of the values that their favorite products claim to embody. I will then take a photo of their favorite products and the different labels that are put on them.

Imagine if the products we buy explicitly represent the reasons we buy them. If everywhere you go, your coffee cup has a picture of a fair trade worker. Every step you take leaves the print of a pillow to show how comfortable you feel walking in them. Talk about lasting branding! Is that really what every business aims for?