December 2, 2010; Source: Washington Post | With marketers on the prowl for new customers and nonprofits open to just about any idea to help dig up scarce resources, there’s no telling what kind of schemes people will think up to make money and do good at the same time. A recent example was a promise from the cable television network Animal Planet to donate 10 cents for every viewer—up to 500,000, or $50,000 maximum—who tuned in to the November 27 episode of “Pit Bulls & Parolees.”

According to the Washington Post, the show “follows Tia Torres, the founder and director of the Los Angeles area’s Villalobos Rescue Center for unwanted pit bulls that’s run by parolees.” Television shows that air the weekend following Thanksgiving tend to suffer significant dips, but thanks to this special effort, which was promoted over the network as well as via Facebook and Twitter, Pit Bills drew some 1 million viewers, or 54 percent more than its average audience to date this year. That’s also 60 percent better than last year after Thanksgiving, when the show was on the air for its first season.

Because Pit Bulls more than met its numbers for the promotion, the network is donating the full $50,000 to the nonprofit Villalobos Rescue Center. The Washington Post says that’s enough to cover three months of operating costs. At the same time, the Post notes that’s “chump change” for what it would cost Animal Planet for a more typical campaign to boost viewership. “We’re using the passion base,” said Marjorie Kaplan, Animal Planet’s president and general manager. The same people who care about what she’s (Tia) doing will come to watch the show in a way that is far less expensive than trying to go out and reach them through traditional marketing efforts.”—Bruce Trachtenberg