OLPC Foundation "Ask" Starts: Today a Website, Tomorrow...


Congratulations to One Laptop Per Child! Now, in addition to the marketing prowess of the MIT Media Lab, it now has two divisions of marketing heavyweight W2 Group behind it to "achieve measurable results".

And what results might OLPC need to achieve? They already have convinced folks there's a "$100 laptop" powered by a hand crank that will magically provide education to the world's children by teaching them how to "learn learning"?

One way to market OLPC's

It seems that OLPC needs more. In a six-month, pro bono campaign, W2 will:

[R]each out to as many journalists and influencers as possible to spread the word of the computer and the participating countries. The end hope is that the clamor will help impel other countries to sign on.
Wait, why does OLPC need "influencers" to convince new countries to join this grand experiment? You mean Nicholas Negroponte's "implementation miracle" isn't convincing by itself?

And if the target market is the political and educational leadership of the developing world, the influencers and decision makers that will green light the massive investment OLPC asks for, why will the promotion focus on:

Web-based and broadcast media like 60 Minutes. The agency has already shot b-roll for broadcast stories. Soon the campaign will produce PSAs with celebrities promoting OLPC, to run on YouTube and Google, a longtime partner of the project. The organization will also target traditional media like Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Harper's, and Esquire.
Help me here, but when was the last time you met a President who made major policy decisions effecting his country's entire educational system, off a public service announcement in Rolling Stone or on YouTube? Wait, don't answer that, but do understand the point.

How can this be an ad campaign to change the minds of those this project will impact the most; children in the developing world, and their parents? They do not watch Google Video, 60 Minutes, or read Esquire.

No, this is an ad campaign to influence those with the money, the massive funding required to spend $30 Billion dollars a year on the Children's Machine XO: You. You, and every other "rich" country donor.

participate: Invest your money and your time in One Laptop per Child Foundation

What might be the first move? Check out the slick new OLPC website, hover over the arrow to read:

participate: Invest your money and your time in One Laptop per Child Foundation
And then click through to the OLPC Foundation website.

There you will find the beginnings of an "ask", the request for time and money for the OLPC Foundation. While the money donation request is rudimentary now, expect it to be as slick as the rest of the OLPC marketing mix soon enough.

But don't get too excited about the time "ask" just yet. That handy "Application for OLPC Volunteer Service" leads to a laptop request form, not a volunteer one. And good luck to whomever is on the other end of Special OLPC Laptop Program Application.

You're about to get millions of "asks" for that - starting with mine, right about now..

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The $30 billion figure is arbitrary, and should not be used as anything but pure conjecture.

The ad compaign is, obviously, to raise public awareness and interest in the project. PSAs don't convince Presidents, but the citizenry that PSAs are targeted for, do.

Finally, this is not aimed to convince "those with the money, the massive funding required...". Because we (the general first world population) are not the ones that are expected or even being asked to pay 1 cent for these laptops. The government payment systems, that WILL be the source of purchasing funds is regularly talked about on this site. Why are you implying otherwise now?


What developing world "government payment systems" do you think can afford the multi-million OLPC purchase costs, to say nothing of implementation?

Negroponte is aiming for 100 million laptops in 2008, that's $10 Billion at the minimum, but more like at least $20 Billion if you use the Libya MOU numbers.

Even Negroponte himself talks about countries borrowing from the World Bank (specifically, IADB, a part of the WB), from each other, or receiving XO gifts from the developed to the developing world. Only Libya, or maybe Brazil, will be close to self-funded.

And when was the last time you noticed an Esquire in a favella or Google Video playing in a shanty town, much less a rural village?

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