Leo Burnett Mexico is making some enemies in the Ecuadorian government. The Publicis-owned agency has teamed with 4pelagatos, an independent journal in Ecuador, to create MashiMachine, a new interactive video platform that advocates for Ecuadorians freedom of speech.
The country is infamous for its strict media laws on censorship and free speech. People aren't allowed to openly express their thoughts and information is also limited. Ecuadorians primarily get their news from a 4-5 hour weekly broadcast hosted by President Rafael Correa, making him the only voice of information and news.
Now, the MashiMachine initiative mocks this communication network. People type any phrase they want into the platform and it will use those keywords to produce a mashup of existing video clips featuring President Correa. The platform contains 10,000 Spanish words and numerous aggregated clips of Correa.
Here is one of Correa dubbed to singer/songwriter Daddy Yankee.
In order to keep the videos from becoming immediately traceable, the platform creates a microsite each time a user creates a video. Users can then promote their videos across Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.
There's also a play on Correa’s Twitter handle, @MashiRafael.
Since its April 30th launch, there have been more than 137,000 videos created with the most popular clip shared over 1,000 times.
The Ecuadorian government’s response to MashiMachine has been aggressive, says the agency. The #mashimachine was Twitter’s number one trending topic before the Ecuadorian government took the hashtag down.
And after the first week of launch, President Correa missed his weekly scheduled broadcast and the Vice President had to take his place due to the campaign's attention.
4pelagatos has received many calls for copyright infringement but since the videos are aggregated from public servers, all of the government's attempts to shut down the project have failed.
This campaign is poetic justice for the four journalists who embarked on this project after being forced out of their jobs at the top newspaper in the country by the Ecuadorian government because they were raising too many questions about free speech. "This is a pretty remarkable example of how technology is inspiring and bringing together a community under duress," says the agency.