With the founders’ roots in documentary film, literature, music and political activism, Brooklyn-based creative agency Art Not War is helping nonprofits bring their stories to life
Altruism and inspiration abound in the nonprofit marketing industry. Impassioned staffers toil tirelessly in an effort to spread the word about—and boost engagement in their worthy causes. This work often is a low-budget or no-budget enterprise, but in a corner of the marketplace in which savvy storytelling is paramount for marketing success and the key to engaging today’s target audiences goes far beyond distributing an informative brochure, nonprofit marketers need creative resources that often are beyond their reach.
Enter Laura Dawn and Daron Murphy, co-founders of Art Not War, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based creative agency and production studio that specializes in developing advocacy campaigns for left-leaning nonprofits and socially conscious businesses. Dawn and Murphy create TV commercials, Web videos, infographics, short-form documentaries and original music—all with slick, professional production values achieved within a nonprofit marketer’s meager budget.
The firm’s mission, as stated on its website, is: “We make meaningful media that compels viewers to share and brings vital attention to the campaigns that can change the world. We ONLY work with clients with aligned progressive values. … We’re artists and activists, not entrepreneurs. We are a mission—not a business venture. We exist to make the world a more equitable and peaceful place, and will do our utmost to work with any organization with a righteous cause, even in the face of the most challenging budget constraints.”
The Art Not War team has collaborated with Hollywood A-listers, musicians and high-profile activists, such as Oliver Stone, Matt Damon, John Cusack, Heather Graham, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Moby, Bruce Springsteen, The Roots, John Cougar Mellencamp, Modest Mouse, Aimee Mann, Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam, Russell Simmons, Salman Rushdie and Michael Moore.