Archive for the ‘Humanity’ Category

Gorbachev Foundation

Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 10:04

He answered former President Reagan’s call to tear down this wall. In doing so, he effectively ended a war which had occupied my entire lifetime–the Cold War. But, as a man of vision and possibly ahead of his time, Mikhail Gorbachev seems not to now occupy the best of positions in Russian history. That, with the passage of a few more years, may well change–and should. There have been few men as deserving of a memorable place in recent history as Mr. Gorbachev.

Until then, we can still support Mr. Gorbachev through his Gorbachev Foundation. Even better, on March 2, 2007, you can help celebrate a great man’s 76th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Gorbachev. And, thank you.

Home page:
Home page:  Gorbachev Foundation



Motorola & (Product) Red

Monday, 8 January 2007; 8:52

Chris Rock. Sheryl Crow. Charlie Sheen. Molly Sims. Kayne West. Chris Kattan. That’s quite the expensive line-up of spokespersons. However, The Distillery is guessing these individuals participating in Motorola’s (Product) Red campaign either donated their time or charged exceptionally little for it. (Could Bono have been involved in the negotiations?) 

Each of the above individuals, including Bono, are participating in a global campaign, with sponsorship by Motorola, to increase awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS–especially in Africa where the daily deaths of thousands of parents are leaving thousands and thousands of orphan children. And quite frankly, The Distillery is impressed. Motorola seems to have gone the extra mile to provide an entire line of red products to call attention to the HIV/AIDS problem.

Even more, the firm has “borrowed” the YouTube model to present each celebrity’s statement with a “videowall.” Beyond that, it appears there is even space reserved for you. You are encouraged to create your own video and upload it, possibly for inclusion with additional videos by other consumers, Nelson Mandela, Amerie, and 50 Cent. Nice job, Motorola. It is really nice to see capitalism and corporations need not exclude a large measure of compassion.

Home page: Motorola & (Product) Red

The Oneness Minute – Humanity’s Team

Friday, 5 January 2007; 14:59

God typically seems to get his advertising right. Hey, look at all his loyal customers. (And yes, Virginia, even God advertises.) This relatively tiny site, The Oneness Minute, is interesting in that it is actually designed to sell a book, Waves of Oneness. However, the veiled selling spiel is all but subversive. Before one is encouraged to buy the book, free posters are offered. (You need only pay shipping and handling costs.) You are also permitted to download the site’s theme song. All of this is offered by Humanity’s Team, a group of spiritual activists. (Jeesh, that almost comes across as an oxymoron.)

The site opens with a pleasant narrative and a folksy tune reminding us that we all live together, regardless of our differences, on this one single planet. After the index page introduction, the site then automatically opens a second page where you are encouraged, via a mailing list, to join thousands from all over the world at 11:11 AM [each day] to celebrate our oneness!  

The owners and operators of this small site seem far from dumb. They have used the internet to take a most round-about manner to ultimately sell books–and their brand of spirituality. The Distillery is even willing to bet the site’s operators rake in decent revenue from their simple, but effective efforts. God bless them.

Home page:  The Oneness Minute

Pearl Harbor Survivors Project

Monday, 11 December 2006; 12:19

They are battle-weary members of America’s “greatest generation.” They are also now growing far fewer in numbers with each passing day. They are the U.S. survivors of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

With each of their deaths, a little bit of history dies. Such is the reason causes like the Pearl Harbor Survivors Project are all the more important. Although many government leaders apparently have not learned the lesson, war is hell, and these remaining members of the greatest generation leave no doubt about that as you watch them tell their stories.

Thank you, veterans of Pearl Harbor and veterans of wars everywhere. After all, all sides fight “with God on their side.”

Home page: Pearl Harbor Survivors Project
Site page:  Survivors’ videos

USS Russell passes in review.
USS Russell’s pass-in-review before the Pearl Harbor survivors News (Minister Louis Farrakhan)

Tuesday, 19 September 2006; 14:12

I have never been entirely certain what to make of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. However, that is from a perspective of personal beliefs. What about from The Distillery’s perspective? There we find certainty. News and Minister Farrakhan clearly “get” the internet. The site is replete with multimedia content. Might this be a function of a superb orator understanding how to reach people? Quite possibly so. Of significant interest is finding Link TV, described as Television Without Borders and:

…an alternative to the narrow one-sided ‘Middle East’ reporting of CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR and others. Visit LinkTV for news from the Direct perspectives of Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Israel, etc.

The Distillery finds a virtual cornucopia of other rich media content. In fact, it finds an example of the very sort of rhetoric (September 11, 2001: Fact and fiction According to Loose Change Documentary) that gives pause to fully endorsing Minister Farrakhan, although he proclaims himself a scholar and vessel of truth. On the other hand, one finds a link to an unedited CBS 60 Minutes interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Elsewhere throughout the site, numerous and diverse webcasts, interviews, and podcasts are found.

Whatever your ideological feelings about Minister Farrakhan and his mouthpiece, News, you must agree both are instep with technology as a tool to reach (and preach to) the masses. Both make their messages more accessible than what we find from many Fortune 500 companies. Well done, Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Home page: News
Home page:  The Nation of Islam

H.M.L.Farrakhan meets Cuban leader, Fidel Castro

“When The Levees Broke” (Spike Lee & HBO)

Thursday, 24 August 2006; 12:11

One day, Spike Lee will make a great movie. No, not “very good” like many of his previous cinematic efforts are, but a movie on par with movies made by John Huston, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola. But until then, “very good,” “superb,” “insightful,” and “excellent” must suffice as descriptors of his works.

From all The Distillery has seen and read about Spike’s most recent effort, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, he has again produced a superb film. It has that look which The Distillery finds unique and unmistakably “Spike Lee.” It is also “Spike Lee” in that he does not hold himself to a strict timetable. This HBO documentary is four hours long. Still, do the right thing and set some time aside to watch it.

Home page: When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts
Film clip (30 seconds): When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Home page: HBO

when the levees broke house boat graphic when the levees broke quote graphic Spike Lee photo graphic

Dr. LEE Jong-wook (WHO)

Thursday, 3 August 2006; 13:28

What exactly is WHO, the World Health Organization? That link should tell you most of what you might like to know. However, The Distillery is not highlighting WHO, but instead Dr. LEE Jong-wook, the former Director-General of the organization, and someone who made a real difference in this world. It is his welcoming video you see at the aforementioned link. This blog entry is in his memory.

Direct link: Dr. LEE Jong-wook
Home page: World Health Organization

Dr. Lee Jong-wook 1945-2006 photo graphic

B-SPAN (The World Bank)

Tuesday, 11 July 2006; 14:45

Once again, we see a NGO or not-for-profit which is fully in-step with the times. In fact, below is an excerpt from The World Bank itself about the mission of its B-SPAN webcasting service:

B-SPAN is the webcasting service of the World Bank Group, presenting seminars, workshops and conferences on a variety of sustainable development and poverty reduction issues via streaming video.

The World Bank and its partners play host to numerous seminars, workshops and conferences where the world’s leading development experts and practitioners discuss the latest developments in a range of sectors, including agriculture, sustainable development, finance, poverty reduction, health, education, governance, environment, energy, infrastructure, rural and urban development, and more. Through B-SPAN, the discussions, debates, and key points of these events can be preserved and made available to a worldwide audience.

B-SPAN webcasts are free to view. World Bank staff, academics, students, researchers, journalists, NGO representatives, and members of the public-at-large can virtually “attend” events from anywhere in the world where the Internet is accessible. By bringing World Bank events to the computer screen, B-SPAN is an invaluable tool for the World Bank’s missions of promoting transparency and sharing knowledge.

B-SPAN (presentations listing by title) is clearly not afraid to address some difficult and thorny issues. Below are only a few rich media presentations from The World Bank. Now, if only Nicholas Negroponte can get those $100 laptops to the people who might benefit from the possible outcomes of some of this content. And finally, I draw your attention to Ten Things You Never Knew About The World Bank (non-multimedia). Indeed, who knew?

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Ecosystem Approach to Natural Resources Management
Working for a World Free of Poverty

World Bank graphic 01

World Bank graphic 02

Reebok – “I Am What I Am”

Friday, 7 July 2006; 2:14

I didn’t want to be fighting every day. I didn’t want to be selling drugs. I didn’t want to do what everybody was doing in the hood. I wanted to be different. And that’s what Skateboarding gave me. ~Stevie Williams

Allen Iverson — Father, Aspiring Fisherman, Basketball Star. Carolina Kluft — Heptathlete, Daughter, Olympic Champion. 50 Cent — Dad, Survivor, Rap Superstar. Miri Ben-Ari — Former Soldier, Hip Hop Head, World-renown Violinist.

Those are a few of the audio-visual portraits found at Reebok’s I Am What I Am web site. In each case, we discover something different about the spokesperson than what we may now believe. And after Michael Jordan never really speaking out, never taking a stand against child labor, nor expressly looking to be a role model (as he sold $150/pair basketball shoes to low-income inner-city kids), this campaign by Reebok is very refreshing.

It is an interesting approach to selling shoes, which typically serve more as fashion statements than honest-to-goodness athletic shoes. It works for me. Yet then again, maybe I’m not exactly a member of this Reebok campaign’s target audience. After all, Nike remains firmly entrenched as #1.

Still, The Distillery applauds Reebok for a very socially responsible approach to selling shoes and providing sometimes unexpected role models. I doubt they would sponsor Charles Barkley, even if there was some truth in his [in]famous statement about not being a role model. But maybe, just maybe, Reebok has decided it’s not always about making as much money as possible.

Are we truly looking at corporate social responsibility? Believe it or not, so it seems. More evidence is found at Reebok’s Human Rights Program. In fact, The Distillery has previously reviewed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as presented by Reebok. It appears Reebok is indeed the real deal.

When you finish looking through the video portraits (downloadable to iPods and PSPs), be certain to then look at the Behind The Grind video, a casual and light-hearted look into what makes each spokesperson the person they are, and what they believe. The Distillery very much likes and admires this campaign. In fact, this is one advertisement that parents might like to sit down and watch with their kids. Each may walk away a little more enlightened about some unique individuals, life itself, and life’s choices.

Thanks, Reebok. I promise my next pair of sneakers will be Reeboks. I think I owe you one.

Reebok logo Reebok The Pump Match Day Tennis Shoe graphic


Monday, 12 June 2006; 13:59

It is with immense pleasure that The Distillery brings you UNICEF. As has been noted here before, it is nice to see not-for-profits sometimes kicking for-profit corporations’ butts. And with respect to understanding today’s world, the internet and its capabilities, UNICEF is among the leaders. UNICEF’s site is exceptionally rich with video content.

Might UNICEF officials understand that emotional responses and appeals are frequently a function of several sensory inputs, with audio and video being at the forefront in impact? Apparently so. Have a look at the home page (same link as above) for immediate access to multimedia content, and then have a look at this UNICEF video “white paper” from Japan.

UNICEF - baby image UNICEF child labor image

FIFA – Fair Play Programme

Monday, 12 June 2006; 13:00

The Distillery has indeed found a new love in FIFA. It strives to be much more than just football/soccer. An example is its Fair Play Programme.

Two excerpts from FIFA Fair Play:

The generic concept of fair play is a fundamental part of the game of football. It represents the positive benefits of playing by the rules, using common sense and respecting fellow players, referees, opponents and fans.

The most hotly debated topics of our times, such as equality, peace, children’s rights, health, education and the environment, do not escape the attention of FIFA. The fight against discrimination, racism and child labour and for better health, equal education opportunities for boys and girls, and the integration of handicapped people in society, are some of the priorities that FIFA has been concentrating on for many years. Today, FIFA supports a growing number of charitable activities and will continue to do so in the future.

How do such ideals translate into real life? Look us look at the smiles on the faces of football tifosi from one of the western hemisphere’s poorest countries with Brazil-Haiti: “Football for Peace”.

About the video:

In the next seven minutes prepare to be moved to tears while watching the following film recorded by the Brazilian Federation (CBF) during their “Football for Peace” visit to the troubled Caribbean island of Haiti on 18 August [2004].

If the wide smiles of Ronaldinho [sic] and Roberto Carlos listening to the locals’ unbridled sounds of joy as the Brazilians are driven through Haitian streets in U.N. tank-like vehicles does not moisten the eyes, then the shy look of the lucky boy standing in front of Ronaldo as the teams line-up surely will. Sit back and witness the passion football creates.

Barry Bonds and other American athletes, take note. (Yes Dixie, my old college buddy and now NBA marketing V.P., I recall and will one day highlight the NBA’s Africa initiative.)

FIFA Fair Play logo

Coca-Cola – The Hilltop & “Mean” Joe Green Commercials

Sunday, 4 June 2006; 8:47

Yesterday, I found myself talking to a young kid about television advertising. During the course of our conversation, I discovered he had [rightfully so] never heard of, nor seen, the famous Coca-Cola hilltop commercial–nor the one with “Mean” Joe Green. So to fulfill a promise to a future marketing whiz, here are I’d Like to Teach The World to Sing and “Mean” Joe Green.

Thanks for safely warehousing our memories, Library of Congress. Also, please forgive this departure from the regularly scheduled programming here at The Distillery.

1907 Coca-Cola print ad 1963 Coca-Cola rocket print ad