The solid form of water, produced by freezing; to cool with ice, as a drink.
Chances are, when you think of ice these days, the now-famous Ice Bucket Challenge comes to mind. It's certainly come to all of our social media pages in the last couple of weeks - and maybe to your own back yard. Some comments indicate the repeated videos are starting to annoy some people, but as a marketing person, I like it. As someone who is familiar with ALS from my community, I love it.
As of a few days ago, the stunt has raised millions for ALS - increasing donations 1000% over the same period last year. The awareness the phenomenon has created is incalculable. No organized, paid PR campaign could ever create this kind of response. This sensation will be the envy of non-profits and marketers worldwide.
To the point on envy, you know what's coming, don't you? Company President or Executive Director calls the troops together for a meeting, stands at the end of the table and says the following: "We need a program just like the ice bucket challenge. How hard can that be? It's just a bucket of water and some videos, right? Think of something like that. Let's meet again next week." Any bets on how long the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will be held up as a viral campaign for others to match, re-invent or top? A year? 2 years? More?
For anyone who's attempted it, it's not so easy to create a viral video by trying. Oh, sure, you can record a cat on a turntable or a guy falling off a roof - but try to DESIGN something intended to get millions of hits? Forget about it. It's the authentic, unstaged nature of these things that helps them take off. Too many elements have to come together to predict what will work and what won't. Most of these start as grass roots efforts with no intention of world domination.
Linus Pauling said "the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." What he means is that we never know, but the law of large numbers tells us our chances for success increase when we give ourselves more chances. That means we need to keep trying things...many things...all the time - to promote our organizations, our missions, our services. Who knows which one will take hold? The only sure thing is we won't get attention if we don't try.
You know, the term "breaking the ice" has been around since 1590. Its first usage referred to clearing frozen rivers of ice to allow passage of a ship, but evolved to a metaphor meaning 'to make the first opening to an attempt." Perhaps that's our job as marketers. To open up the rivers of opportunity. We hope to get a warm response, though for ALS, getting the cold shoulder was just what they were after.