English: Ben Stiller photographed in NYC by Ji...

Ben Stiller photographed in NYC by Jiyang Chen, November 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a Ben Stiller comedy in the traditional Holiday mold. Big budget. Lots of laughs (they hope). When they contacted filmmaker Casey Neistat to make a marketing video for the film, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” turned into something much different.

Twentieth Century Fox was developing a marketing campaign called “Live Your Dreams.” Neistat had a much different take mind. He proposed taking the entire budget and using it to help survivors of November’s catastrophic Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The final 6 minute, 44 second video chronicles Neistat’s trip and his efforts to provide aid. He was able to provide over 10,000 meals, tools to 35 villages and medical supplies to non-profits.

It was an awesome and infinitely commendable initiative. From a mercenary, marketing perspective it also did much more to advance the goals of both “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and Casey Neistat than could ever have been accomplished by a traditional marketing video. We’re not at all second guessing Neistat’s motives, it just worked out well all around.

Many more people have seen the video, 516,539 at last count, than ever would have seen a typical promotional video. It also shows Casey as a creative filmmaker as well as an extraordinarily good guy. It was certainly out of the box thinking, well executed. Taking personal and professional risks often pays dividends, personal, professional and karmic.

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