Nokia has recently launched an interesting project that mixes charity and exclusivity. "Face the task" allows consumers to put their hands on an exclusive limited edition version of the Nokia N96 one month before the phone hits the market. There are two ways to get it: either by taking part to a quiz and then entering a draw, or directly paying an amount of 759 Euros that will directly go into the dedicated WWF account for the Red Panda conservation.
The site in itself is simple, nice and strongly video based (the agency should be Farfar). Each of the phone characteristic is told by the actions of a ninja woman in a series of videos that very much reminds of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When you go full screen the experience gets really immersive, even if the mix of ninjas and technology may result a bit weird.
Anyway, I'd like to go back to the main point of my post: the combination of charity and exclusivity. It's a great idea, especially with technology products and technology freaks that would go crazy to get a phone or any other device way before it hits the market.
If you think about it, pre-selling a product and giving the takings to charity can do a very good job for a brand and its social responsibility, especially if done consistently and transparency. Of course this can't work for all goods, but with technology and luxury brands I think it can result as a positive tool to promote a product while doing something good for the others.