Ice Bucket Challenge: What Marketers Can Learn

9:41 AM, 25 August 2014

Marketers are normally trying to sell a product or a service – and that means getting people to engage with, and participate in, what your brand is doing.  Ad Age have highlighted what can be learnt from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that's been sweeping the country.

Make it fun and easy: The Ice Bucket Challenge has made participation easy. Anyone can do it, and it doesn't require a special talent, nor any special resources – it’s unusual, so it’s fun.

Sometimes going local is more powerful than national:  The ice bucket challenge didn't entirely go viral until a few guys such as Pete Frates in Boston, picked up the challenge and took it to their local communities and friends.  The challenge took off in Boston partly because there was a specific hometown link - people knew Pete's story. By trying to engage everybody at once, it can become something generic and dull.

Don't try too hard to control the message -- let other people tell the story: If a brand had launched something like this, it’d likely have marketers constantly trying to control the message. This challenge enables people to tell their own stories.  I.e. some have dedicated their video to a loved one,  some are just creating a memory with friends and others are taking the chance to prove their toughness and creativity by jumping into an ice cold ocean.


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