Social ad has started with the rise of social and ecological problems, especially third world countries. Although it is a type of ad, the only common ground it has with the ads of private agencies is that they both try to create something interesting and attractive to public. Ethem Ozguven is a determined person who seeks for careful consumption rather than a coarse one. He has international and national awards on short movies, videos and documentaries. He also participated in several festivals like Paris International Contemporary Art Fair, Prag, Berlin, Cuba and Nurnberg. So far, the topics that he worked on are earthquake, say no to war, erosion, air and sea pollution, schizophrenia, women and violence, books.
1. Do you choose the subjects of your social advertisements from the political interest or the demands? (Sandra Özromano)
Both can be done. We can decide topics according to an important event that has occurred that year, or according to the demands that have come to us.
2. Can a social advertisement be also used in case of a natural disaster to call for help to overcome the economic and social difficulties caused by the disaster? For example do AKUT or Kızılay have such projects? (Dilan Bilge Er)
Yes it had happened it can be use, should be used.
3. Do you prefer to address a specific generation of social advertising today? Social ads by topic, especially determines a target audience? (Ayşecan Coral)
Of course it determinate a specific target audience. For example if you are doing something about violence to women you have two basic target audiences. One is the one who is been applied and one is who is applying it. You give them a number of messages. Other than that, you give the whole community better side-posts. There is a target audience in everything. If you are doing something about the kids who work at the streets one of your target audience is the kids, another one is the government and the public, another one is the people who make them work, who thinks that they deserve to be tortured. Every film has a particular target audience, audiences.
4. People prefer to change the chanel or to visit the bathroom during commercials. According to you, social advertising should be restricted to tv commercials or videos only? Is there another ways such as exhibiting a picture could cause the same effect? (Melisa Raptopulos & Dilan Bilge Er)
There could be alternative media like bilboards. I believe that they can cause the same reaction too.
a. For example, exhibiting the social advertisement on a big billboard with a picture and a short writing will create the same effect? An ad that Benetton, a clothing brand published caused the formation of different opinions in Italy. This ad, called “Unhate” portrayed the kissing of scenes of Papa Benedict XVI with Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb (an imam) and Obama with Hu-Jintao by using photoshop. The Guardian did some interviews with several people and some of the answers were:
1. “No, I don’t think it’s shocking. I think it’s very encouraging. It’s a nice message, which catches people’s attention. That’s how I see things.”
2.“It is shocking. It doesn’t represent Islam.”
Do you believe that the notion that was presented in this ad can be regarded as social advertising?
b. Did you ever consider the idea of creating a social advertisement by using popularly used social media? If you ever though about it, which social media site do you believe would be able to fulfill your goal? For example, when we first think about it Facebook, a site which is used by many teenagers and families comes to our mind. What do you think about the fact that all the advertisements that are seen on Facebook are about losing weight, shopping or more superficial topics?
This is not the same question you are asking but I am answering it. In my point of view everything can be used as a public spot but I think it should not be used in this manner. Now especially with violence, LÖSEV, child pornography, children are being used. That’s way I am not using this spot. I also believe that beaten women and children videos also should not be used, and it is not moral. I’m finding this topic really important and wrong. One of the most important reason is for example you are making a video about women being beaten and you put a part where a men is beating a woman. We are doing this in the goal of making it stop, but in reality there are thousands of people in the world who can use this for bad or get influenced in a bad way. Even if your goal is different, if you let a new element of violence get into the media you would just be leaving the string of a balloon in to space and time! They always do this.
For example; my British and German students filmed a documentary for their documentary class during the Kurban Bayram. They filmed animals with their throats cut. They are adolescants,very keen children and I like them both.
Let us think about the role of arts. Think of this whole social advertisements and series, think of the violance it implies. When you say series the only thing that comes to my mind is except Gülse Birsel, a cellar and a bloody faced man or masculized women. Look at the roles of women; they are always reflected as liars. Can this happen?
What I mean is; when you say make a movie about child abuse or violance against woman people directly put a scene of a beaten child. Where is the creativity in here? My grandfather would be effected too if I put a scene of a beaten child. I told this to LÖSEV too. Is this a butterfly collection, or just an alive kid?
Art is very important. We just met one hour ago, didn’t we? I’m telling you a lot of things, don’t I? I’m saying words like; social advertisements, contrats, efforts, aren’t these so simple? Sky, window, I’ll be going! You understand a part of what I say, and say “What is he saying?” for the rest. We give the rest to Nazım Hikmet. He uses the same words but says something amazing. Be careful, the same words as I use. The prime minister, we, everyone uses. But some uses worser than I use. I use in the middle. Nazım Hikmet says something nice that everyone wants to hear. This should be and is the effect of art. Otherwise you can effect everyone if you show an ill child, a dead body of child, a woman who is beaten. The characteristic of art is without using these elements, creating something new with delacacy. This is art and it is created for this reason.
Okay, but related to this, maybe the demonstrating way can differ; however,is there a possibility of creating a public spot about homosexuality? You can create a film about everything. Everything you find is important. Public spot is also not nice words, you’ll find better ones.
Have you thought about social advertising from the popular social medias such as Facebook? If you have considered it, which social media sites can handle the time spent on it?
I am a little ignorant about those, except e-mailing. Twitter, facebook… I have no time to use them. But once my students made a page on facebook about me. I find really important facebook and twitter even though I’m not using them. Our Works are presented at there too. But I find really important giving messages on those formats too.
5. Do you have an alternative way to measure the interest of your social advertisement other than foundations or television channels? Have you tried surveys in order to make your work more efficient? If you have not tried this technique, how do you understand that you improve in each social ad? (Tuana Kant)
There is no other way. I really liked your questions, they are good. We most likely prefer to get our publicity done in a more old fashioned way. Due to the lack of time we have, the amount of money we can spend and the fact that we do not know how to use other ways, we prefer going by old ways. Our business power nor our manpower is sufficient. We now provide the information we need, and the demands we take from more cultural television channels and we are planning to move forward in this direction. Thus this could be one of the sides we are missing lack of development.
6. The topics of social media are usually based on problems involving anger and sadness. Did you have any other topic besides them? Are there issues which interfere with the state? (Elif Sarper)
We have done a lot of movies, about 250 or 300. I even forgot most of the themes. Sea pollution is an example. We also made promotions of festivals, music and dance events and other things that need announciation. I think these may qualify for this area. There aren’t any official themes that the government is against but they are picky and clumsy. They rejected our project with Mor Çatı after one month since the movie was out. They claimed that they thought there was too much inequality between men and women. The movies were made to attack men, since there were too many news of women being murdered. We thought it was some sort of joke they were making. Afterwards, we organized a new conference with Mor Çatı. I said there, “We thank the democratic members, for they are probably joking. With the assistance of this joke the movie is, once again, a current issue. We organized this conference and there’s a lot of cameras.We thank the members for their sensibility towards the women issues.” It was like a promotion, we were face to face with the same effects we saw a month ago.
7. Where did you come up with the idea of social advertising? Have you ever wanted to do it when you were little? (Tuana Kant)
No, I did not know what I wanted to do in life when I started university. After studying 2-3 years of economy in Hacettepe University I grasped an idea of what I could not be. Afterword’s I came across the department of cinema-television in Eskisehir. I entered its exams, won and graduated. When I was through with it I became the speaker for TRT. When I came to realize I did not like the atmosphere I quit. I started giving courses as a university professor and later on I went abroad. I produced a few movies that gained rewards. That was the time my friends approached me and said tag along we should do commercials with you. I entered the business, I realized I was not a good cut for this job either when finally I came across my job. Of course the business I do has its ups and downs when it comes to its financial sides which I can provide with the teaching I do in Turkey.
8. Which topics you have covered so far, has most interested you, and why? How was the process of emergence of the idea? (Elif Sarper)
The silicosis disease was the one that interested me the most. This is a disease that is common around sandblasting workers. They use high-pressured machines to blast the sea sand on jeans and whiten them. Silicosis is formed when the workers swallow some of the sand during this process. There is a substance called silica inside the sea sand. When you swallow this substance, it kills up to 60% of your liver in about 3 to 6 months, or maybe a year. This is even worse than cancer, it never heals. People around the ages of 20 and 30 can’t even go up the stairs, like a 70 years old person. Some die in 2 or 3 months, some in a year and some live miserably like that throughout their whole lives. Some people came to us, asking for assistance concerning this matter. This topic really informed us. There was a serious activity in Turkey concerning this problem. Afterwards it became and international activity. And now people are struggling to ban this in the whole world. Don’t wear stoned jeans kids. You can wear the ones you already own, but don’t buy new ones. This was the first topic that came to my mind, probably since it was the latest one I did. This is what happens most of the time: some people come to us, we listen to them, like how you are listening to me right now. If we believe them, if there isn’t anyone else taking action and if the movie is really necessary, we do it. We don’t just scratch our heads and declare that we’re doing a movie. I am a workingman. I work as a teacher. I give my lessons and then I sit at my home during my free time. But when problems like these come, depending on how much it affects us, we do films for them. It’s more like a hobby. There’s also time that we decide to do something about important and current news, such as violence against women. We read about it everyday, we read about murders. And then we start talking about them. Everyone says something. The idea is either brought to us, or it’s born through important and current news.