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This Producer Surprised 20th Century Fox with their $25,000 Marketing Budget

Marketing budgets have rarely been put to better use.

This American producer, Casey Neistat, received a sum of money from 20th Century Fox to make a marketing video to promote the new movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Instead of spending that money on making a cliché movie trailer, he decided to put it to much better use — to help the Filipino victims of typhoon Haiyan.

With $25,000 at hand and the marketing department’s approval, Casey set out on a journey to the Philippines, first to Cebu to buy as much relief supplies as possible then to Tacloban City, to distribute the supplies.

Neistat notebook

Food from marketing budget
His efforts are commendable and deserve applause. But more than that, it is an interesting incident that ought to get the attention of people — marketers as well as humans.

He used Twitter to find local help, on the go

One of the most interesting things about his incredible work is the fact that he tweeted “anyone know anyone in Manila who knows how to make shit happen?” Then, he received an email from one of his followers about linking up.

Twitter call for help

Email screenshot
This, of course, isn’t something new. Twitter has been used on many occasions by people to get questions answered, solve problems, and to get help in general (works best with a sizeable following). But this incident clearly shows the potential of Twitter to facilitate sharing and collaboration. 10 years ago getting help from a stranger with less than 140 characters and a click would be completely unimaginable.

He took the risk like a champ

It’s not hard to fathom that there was a real chance for Neistat to lose his offer from the film studio when he sent in his radical idea. After all, it is the cheesy, over-the-top, and hardly believable videos that marketers are used to.

What was at stake was business with a film studio (albeit a huge one), while the potential reward was a glimmer of hope for thousands in the Philippines.

I guess the right choice was obvious for Neistat. And perhaps for the marketing executives of 20th Century Fox, it was an idea different enough that might just pay off.

It became a victory for everyone

What began as a marketing campaign by 20th Century Fox and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty called “Live Your Dreams” became a victory for marketers, producer, and the needy.

Food distributed
Kudos goes to the marketing team behind the campaign for having a heart and believing in, I guess, karma. And thanks, Casey Neistat, for reminding the world that it’s okay to try something different once in a while, especially when people are involved.

So here you go, the “movie trailer” that did so much more than sell a movie.

Imagine the difference it would make if more marketers threw caution to the wind and adopted this model. Do you think that’s possible? We’d love to hear your opinions below.

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