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The customized S III that Samsung sent to Shane Bennett with his dragon doodle.

Shane Bennett

It only took three months, but a man whose crude doodle became a small marketing hit for Samsung Canada finally got what he was asking for.

In May , Shane Bennett sent a request via Facebook to the company for a free Galaxy S III smartphone, before its release in Canada. To sweeten the deal, he included in his message "a picture of a dragon I just drew for you." The dragon-ish cartoon – breathing fire and saying "rawr" – inspired a response.

The company politely declined the request. "That being said, your drawing of the dragon is epic," Drew Bomhof, social media manager at the company's agency, Cheil Canada, wrote in his reply. "So we're returning the favour. Please find attached a drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle."

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After Mr. Bennett posted the comical exchange on online forum Reddit , it garnered attention and buzz both online and on Facebook and Twitter.

Long after the buzz had died down, on Monday afternoon Mr. Bennett received a package from Samsung Canada, with what it calls the "only customized S III in Canada." Printed on the exterior of the phone is Mr. Bennett's dragon. The box also features his drawing, perched triumphantly atop the shiny device, and the screen of the phone is programmed with the same green monster theme.

The letter from the company thanked Mr. Bennett for giving them a story that went viral. Such "earned media" – that is, positive attention in the press and on social networking sites – is an incredibly valuable commodity for marketers.

Their gratitude comes at a time when Samsung is hurting somewhat from a much larger media story: that of the judgment against it in a high-profile legal battle with Apple. Last week, Apple was awarded $1.05-billion in damages as a result of patent infringement by Samsung. (Apple is now also seeking an injunction against sales of some of its competitor's devices.) The jury in a California court ruled that Samsung had lifted features of the popular iPhone and iPad for use on its devices.

Mr. Bennett returned the favour on Monday, again posting pictures to Reddit, where it quickly drew more than 1,000 comments and was voted to the top spot on the site for three hours, he said. The post has brought attention back to the dormant story.

"God damn Samsung's marketing department deserves a raise," one commenter wrote.

Mr. Bennett and Samsung Canada have said he is not affiliated with the company in any way, but after giving a small hand to the marketing department, he says he is happy with the return.

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"I was amazed that Samsung not only sent me a phone, but to take the time and effort to customize it was really touching."

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