How brands and ad agencies contribute to long-term solutions in Haiti: Poprule interview with Rob Kramer (Part 2)


Here is the second part of the interview I did with Rob Kramer regarding his new cause action platform, Poprule. You can watch Part One here.


SM: Rob and I were going to get together a few weeks ago, but he suddenly disappeared off to Haiti when the tragic earthquake happened.  Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing there, and what the plans are moving forward.  I understand you’re doing something to provide long term solutions.

RK: So I’ve been involved in the clean water space, and when I was in Haiti about a week after the earthquake, I discovered that water is a catalyst for all kinds of social change.  So if you deliver clean, safe water, mothers can be home, they can become teachers and the kids get educated.

SM: Instead of four miles for four hours one way and four hours back to carry water.


RK: Exactly.  Then there’s economic opportunities that are presented.  The one issue that we’re focused on in Haiti—and water is the catalyst which introduced me to this issue—is that before the earthquake, there were about 380 thousand orphans.  Now there’s close to one million orphans.  If we don’t do something about that and create a holistic solution and teach them schools, the country will never rebound.  It will be a lost generation.  And so what we’re doing is we’re putting together a project to build a home, a school and a community center.  The school will actually house certain kids who are orphans who have no other place to be.  We’re going to redefine this notion of what it means to be a child without parents. It will be more like a boarding school.  Within that boarding school there will be an opportunity to interact with the community, to have activities, to have weddings, to have soccer fields.

SM: So you’re rebuilding community, not just giving a place for orphans to live.

RK: That’s right. Orphans and water that we provide becomes the catalyst and the fulcrum upon which everything else is laid.


SM: Time and time again, as I hear different people working in the non-profit space, one of their frustrations is that there’s a lot of run and done organizations that will go in and do some pretty cool, priceless management work, which is important in its own right, but over the long term you need the investment to rebuild the infrastructure, to rebuild community, to rebuild schooling and so on.  So it’s fantastic that you’re working in that area.  How does anyone have a look at PopRule, how do they get involved if either they’re a consumer or a brand?

RK: PopRule is not particularly consumer-facing at this moment in terms of its website.  We’re in stealth-mode so a lot of our relationships are very one-on-one, but we are spending lots of time with ad agencies and brands to develop varied strategies to create education action platforms, finance action platforms, how we deal with jobs.  So anything that is action oriented; that’s social, economic, humanitarian, political, cause oriented.


SM: So if you’re an ad agency, brand or publisher how would they reach out to you?

RK: They can reach out to us through or go to and you’ll see the various verticals that we address, although basically it’s just sending an email to get in touch with us.  And then we usually do some go-to meeting demos with the folks.  What we’re essentially building is an online-offline action platform that is a bit like foursquare in that it’s location based, but it’s all based on this premise that action is no ethos.  That, in order for us to create social or political change, we have to take action.  We can’t just talk about it, we can’t just read about it, we have to inform ourselves, but we have to move into action. Poprule’s platform helps organizations.  Essentially, a non-profit organization that only expects people to come to their website is missing the point.

It’s fantastic what Rob is doing.  Please, if you’re a brand or agency, support in any way you can by visiting