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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 07/28/2011

10 ventures chosen to give COMMON Pitch


A young Hindu devotee takes a shower before starting his pilgrimage to the sacred Batu Caves temple during Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur in this January 31, 2007 file photo. (BAZUKI MUHAMMAD - REUTERS)

It’s easy to take a shower for granted.

That’s one of the driving ideas behind award-winning advertising professional Rob Martin Murphy and Creative Realities Managing Director Valli Lakshmanan’s latest venture: the BetaShower. The public shower system is an eco-friendly venture that would provide homeless people a private place to take a three-minute shower for just a few pennies, and it is among 10 finalists for the COMMON Pitch competition in Boulder, Colo.

Each COMMON pitch finalist has five minutes to pitch their “socially conscious idea” to industry leaders and venture capitalists. The other nine finalists are:

-- The Bell Light: An affordable, multi-functional lamp to replace kerosene lamps around the world.

-- MediaCause.org: An effort to network non-profits with advertising professionals willing to work pro-bono.

-- Quinn Popcorn: A couple works to re-invent microwave popcorn in an attempt to make the process more environmentally friendly.

-- SunSaluter: Technology that would allow for the rotation of a solar panel without using energy.

-- Ritual Chocolate: A venture that would emphasize quality over quantity in chocolate production, while increasing sustainability.

-- Colorado Front Range Eco-Town: This venture would create a “large-scale eco-village” on the Colorado Front Range. The town would aim to have a low impact on the environment and keep the price of resources (food and raw building materials) low and “reasonable.”

-- Meeps: A social networking application that allows users to share with other people on a topic basis, rather than broadcasting their content to a pre-selected group of friends and family.

-- Bookswap: A venture that would allow people to network with others to swap books online, turning personal libraries into a global library network. Think AirBnB, but for books.

-- Art Gizmo: A venture that would streamline personalization and one-off manufacturing of clothing in an effort to eliminate waste.

The idea for BetaShower, which originally brought the competition to our attention, was developed at the Institute of Visual Arts, Design and Marketing in Lisbon, where 50 students took part in the brainstorming. The group narrowed the discussions to 12 ideas, finally settling on the idea for BetaShower.

“The process is quite simple,” Lakshmanan said an e-mail. “We write to design schools around the world and ask for permission to do a workshop with their students and work along with them to find solutions for these issues using design.” He and Murphy then pitch the best ideas to venture capitalists to finish the projects, giving credit to the school.

COMMON, the organization hosting the event, was started in January 2011 by Crispin Porter + Bogusky partner Alex Bogusky, his wife Ana Bogusky, Rob Schuham and John Bielenberg. The organization describes itself as a “creative community for rapidly prototyping social ventures.”

COMMON is part of the Fearless Revolution — a movement started by the Boguskys and Schuham. According to the organization’s Web site, its purpose is to “explore a new relationship between people and brands.”

A COMMON STORY from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

This type of outreach and brand expression is not new to Alex Bogusky — the creative force behind the anti-tobacco “Truth Campaign,” among other socially conscious messaging campaigns. His success in advertising garnered him a place in the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Achievement in 2002 and the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named “Creative Director of the Decade” by Adweek magazine in 2010. Bogusky resigned from Crispin Porter + Bogusky then to start the “Fearless Cottage,” where the team brainstorms ways to unlock brand value and distribute that value throughout the community.

By and Frank Yonkof  |  06:00 AM ET, 07/28/2011

Categories:  Business, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Invention, Morning Read, Technology, The Arts, Video, Urban Development

 
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