Lexus Gives GOOD News


NTV StationNowadays, everyone who’s anyone in corporate America is throwing their advertising dollars in one of two directions: hip little branded web series or flashy heal-the-Earth projects. Hands-down successes on either front are still in the minority. But with the delightful GOOD News, luxury car company Lexus and GOOD Worldwide, the media company “for people who want to live well and do good,” have it all going on. Not only are they raising each other’s profiles with a seamlessly integrated sponsorship deal, but they’re delivering a thoughtful, informative daily news show that’s — gasp — fun to watch.

GOOD News officially launched Nov. 21, with the announcement of the Lexus sponsorship, but episodes on the web site date back as far as Oct 14, and they’re all worth checking out. Animated host Roger Numbers is the cutest balding brainiac since Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, infusing laid-back, Ira Glass-esque dryness with an impish snark Jon Stewart would envy. (And he rocks a mean polo shirt on Casual Friday.) The unmistakable NPR flavor is probably no coincidence; former Fresh Air with Terry Gross producer Ian Chillag is GOOD News’ managing editor. (I don’t know who’s responsible for the decision to adorably animate stuff like Numbers’ “I Voted” sticker and his horrified reaction to recycling humans, but I would like to buy that person a cookie.)

Given that it’s coming to you from Lexus’ hybrid line and GOOD, GOOD News is pretty absent of an obvious liberal slant. Sure, you get your occasional focus on climate change and the bold stance that censorship is bad, but you also get severed feet, James Bond and NASCAR. And GOOD News is news you can use, especially if you mingle with smart people and want to sound competent when spouting off about migrant domestic workers in the Middle East or the mess currently known as the Canadian government.

The partnership, which extends to Lexus sponsoring GOOD Magazine’s State of the Planet issue, will probably also do much to raise the profile for two of the car company’s other pet projects: the Lexus Eco Challenge, a scholarship competition, and Hybrid Living, Lexus’ site for consumers wishing to combine luxury and ecoconscious lifestyles.

Yes, you get not one but two big fat Lexus ads on the average page and a blurb for Lexus’ hybrids at the end of each episode. You also get an ad for GOOD Magazine, a change-the-world periodical that lets subscribers pay what they choose and select which nonprofit gets the entire subscription amount. The quality of the show and GOOD’s agenda of positive social change make a little logo-flashing an easy pill to swallow.

Plus, I’m pretty sure they change Roger’s tie every episode, which is kind of awesome.

News worth watching, and a corporate giant pouring a little money into making the world a better place? Sounds good to me.

This review, along with more details about the show, can be found at NewTeeVee Station.

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