29 NOVEMBER, 2010
By: Maria Popova
What bus shelters have to do with civic engagement and Marshall McLuhan.
The key folly of cause marketing can be reduced to low awareness and an unconvincing voice — weak, creatively uncompelling messaging that fails to reach a sufficient number of people and fails to engage those it does reach. Or, to frame it in Marshall McLuhan‘s famous medium/message paradigm, an insufficient medium carrying a toothless message. We’ve previously looked at how UK nonprofit DoTheGreenThing is solving the creative merit problem by borrowing talent from the traditional ad industry to reshape the message. Now, startup LoudSauce is borrowing, quite literally, media space from the traditional media industry to reshape the medium.
Dubbed the world’s first crowdfunded media buying platform, it does for causes what Kickstarter and other platforms do for creative projects, allowing fans and supporters to microfund media space for the causes they’d like to support who couldn’t afford it on their own. Part civic activism, part socialist capitalism, LoudSauce aims to give ideas that matter the share of voice they deserve, help bring smart projects to life and, ultimately, create a new market for conscious creative ad content.
Our vision is to transform the medium of advertising from one that primarily drives consumption to one of civic participation. What if we had more power to shape which messages were promoted on our streets? What if our billboards inspired us toward a future we actually wanted?” ~ LoudSauce
LoudSauce already helped Green Patriot Posters raise $3,200 to get beautifully designed sustainability PSA posters onto San Francisco’s bus shelters. This week, they’re helping Brain Pickings favorite The Story of Stuff microfund a teaser to reach 2 million people during A&E’s show about hyperconsumption, Hoarders.
If you have or know of a cause or pro-social message that needs to reach more eyeballs and eardrums, LoudSauce would like to hear from you. Meanwhile, browse the current campaigns to microfund and keep an eye on the site as it continues to grow — we think it’s a winner, and that’s our two-cent microcontribution.
Our only hang-up with LoudSauce is that, for a project that aims to up the ante on creative engagement in marketing communication, it suffers from tragically low production value and creative merit on its meta-communication, from the site design to the videos promoting the campaigns being microfunded. We wish they’d do a LoudSauce campaign for LoudSauce itself, getting funding to hire a good designer and a good microdocumentary filmmaker. We’d certainly contribute.
In 2010, we spent more than 4,500 hours bringing you Brain Pickings — the blog, the newsletter and the Twitter feed — over which we could’ve seen 53 feature-length films, listened to 135 music albums or taken 1,872 trips to the bathroom. If you found any joy and inspiration here this year, please consider supporting us with a modest donation — it lets us know we’re doing something right.