October 2015

GLOBAL HEADLINE MAKERS:
MARKO ROMCEVIC (SERBIA)

The internet economy has changed a lot of things, but most creative professionals still balk at giving away their talent for free. Not Marko Romcevic, however, who with his partner Dusan Adamovic left Belgrade’s No Ordinary Agency to set up a free video content site for charities and NGOs. 

Or, as they describe it, “the world’s first open source library”.

The pair have named their project #CrazyEnoughToChangeTheWorld. The aim is to fill the site with content that can be taken and adapted by organisations to raise awareness of a wide range of social issues, from hunger and poverty to domestic violence and child abuse.

Marko admits they left the agency at the peak of their success: they had shares in the business and were working on brands such as Carlsberg, Coke and the energy drink Burn, as well as the biggest global DJ competition in Ibiza. “A few months back we said, ‘This is all kind of nice, but let’s try to do something even nicer.’ That’s when we started Crazy Enough To Change The World. Since then we haven’t been getting much sleep.”

Marko says the idea is to craft social media stunts, online videos, TVCs and music videos to a high standard – given their small budget. Actors, musicians and technicians have also agreed to donate time. “Once we’ve finished the films, the global aid community are invited to come to our website and take them. There’s a small questionnaire that enables us to make sure the person is using the work for a good cause.”

At the time of writing there were three music videos on the site, concerning domestic violence, child abuse and breast cancer awareness. “They’re crafted into three-minute videos because we wanted to get the music industry involved,” explains Marko, “but of course they could also be adapted into 30-second TVCs.”

One of the videos has been adapted by local rock band S.A.R.S. and posted on YouTube (garnering more than 500,000 views so far). “What’s interesting is that although the film is about domestic violence, we don’t use shock tactics, which might have been our approach in the past. It’s a tutorial to help women defend themselves. We’re giving them something they can actually use.” 

As news of the site spreads internationally, Marko has received offers of help from a music studio in Los Angeles and a creative collective in Toronto, among others. “In fact, without the unselfish support of others in the industry I doubt we could really make this idea work,” he adds.

It looks as if the site will eventually become a place where creatives from around the world can donate material. “We didn’t plan it that way at the beginning, but the opportunity is there and anyone who wants to get involved is welcome.”

Meanwhile, Marko and Dusan are essentially working without an income. How will they survive? “When we started this, my wife asked me, ‘Does this mean we won’t be able to go on vacation this year?’ But we’ll manage. We were well paid before and we put some money aside – so don’t worry, we’re not going to starve.”

By Mark Tungate, editorial director, Epica Awards