Turning Viewers Into Volunteers at CBS

v2vThe Altitude Group couldn’t be more excited about Viewers to Volunteers, the latest initiative from our friends at CBS EcoMedia.

Since 2010, CBS EcoMedia has been bringing its unique public-private partnership advertising model to all CBS platforms. Their newest effort combines elements of viral video watching, social networking and charitable giving.

So how does it work?

Viewers to Volunteers is a “new multi-screen initiative that empowers people to give to a charity of their choice without spending their own money.” It consists of a destination video hub  where visitors can watch videos and read articles that further a good cause and lots of opportunities for social sharing with friends and colleagues.

When viewers watch or share these advertiser-sponsored videos via their smartphones, tablets or computers, they help direct real-life financial contributions to the nation’s most effective nonprofit organizations.

What is perhaps most compelling about this effort is direct and substantive advertiser integration. The program is launching with the support of Toyota dealership associations in its four launch markets: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Dallas-Fort Worth. (There are plans to roll out V2V nationally with the launch of a mobile app later this spring.)

According to Paul Polizzotto, President and Founder of the division, it’s a unique way for marketers to reach consumers and the issues they care about.“This is a giving platform,” Polizzotto told the Wall Street Journal. “There are no banner ads and no pre-roll on V2V. This is a very different kind of platform.”

As with previous initiatives, CBS is working with some remarkable groups. Eleven of the country’s leading charitable non-profits are serving as launch partners: First Book, Fisher House Foundation, Junior Achievement USA, Kids in Need Foundation, Little Kids Rock, Meals on Wheels America, National Recreation and Park Association, Special Olympics World Games, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Volunteers of America.

We think that this program can be a win-win-win for charities, viewers and advertisers.

“They’re giving our money, but we’re getting what we want as an advertiser, where people are looking at our brand,” Paul Muller, the president of the Tri-State Toyota Dealers Association, told the Wall Street Journal. “Hopefully they’re looking at our brand favorably. In the mean time, we’re doing something that we think is a good thing to do.”