Friday, August 7, 2009

Mail Bag! Corn Phones, Teacher Burgers, and YouTube’s Goodness

I love my friends. I also love strangers when they do what my friends often do, which is to send me anything they find out there that smacks of marketing-plus-goodness.

Here are three such tidbit from the “mail bag” – all thought-provoking – and none of which I will do justice here.

“Brandon M” in Tampa writes, “Dear M+G, cell phones are filling landfills by the millions with their plasticky ways, which makes this news pretty cool… It’s a Samsung phone from Sprint, and it’s made out of corn! Do you know if I can order it with a side of fried chicken?” *

Dear Brandon, thanks for the tip! Since they don’t have an iPhone or a Gphone, Sprint needs to innovate somehow, and this seems like a great way to do it. Can’t wait to see how this resonates with the wired/green set. Let’s hope more phone manufacturers follow suit. I’ll keep an eye out for any ads they may run for this too.
(A bit more on Sprint's corn phone from PSFK, HERE.)

“Mark Y” in Seattle writes in, “Dear M+G, YouTube launched a nonprofit program ( in 2007 that offers member organizations the same features it sells to paid advertisers — a specially designated channel to broadcast its message, help with branding, a video-uploading capacity beyond the standard 10 minutes and a Google Checkout button to rustle up donations. Ryan Hawk, the multimedia coordinator of the Woodland Park Zoo ( in Seattle, says that its partnership with YouTube has simplified streaming and embedding videos to the zoo’s Web site, blog, and Facebook page.

Last week YouTube added a “Call to Action” tool, which lets video makers include links that appear in an overlay while the video plays. I tested it in a videofor charity: water, a nonprofit that aims to bring clean drinking water to developing countries. Viewers donated $10,000 in one day, a sum that will pay for the construction of two wells in the Central African Republic.” *

Dear Mark, back in the Betamax days, the innovators were the pornographers. But now the innovators understand transparency, so when YouTube wants to give away the first uses of some new gizmos, they’ll give the discounts to the early-adopting do-gooders. Pretty awesome stuff. Marketers take note. Doing good just might open more doors to innovation online as well.

“Griffin F” in Tampa writes us, Dear M+G, why are you ignoring me? Well, you can’t ignore this nifty do-gooding promotion from Sonic drive-ins that invites customers to vote on worthy student projects to win massive funding ($500,000!). Just try to ignore it. Try.” *

Dear Griffin, you’re right. I can’t ignore it. It’s a nifty example of how doing good can drive traffic. Sonic invites people to come in once to register to vote (and buy a meal), then again to judge the student projects (and buy a meal). I’ll bet several classrooms full of hungry tweens will be pow-wowing at your local Sonic in the coming months. And loving Sonic for every moment of it. It’s giving, and taking, and mixin’ it up with the community. Well played, Sonic. Well played.

Watch for future installments of “M+G’s Mail Bag” in the not-too-distant future.

* Not actual letters.

(PS - Griffin's outstanding blog is HERE, and Brandon's also-outstanding blog is HERE. Enjoy.) I'm reading: Mail Bag! Corn Phones, Teacher Burgers, and YouTube’s GoodnessTweet this!

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