In mid 2014 Peter Frates stood in front of a camera, offered a challenge to several celebrities to douse themselves with a bucket of ice-cold water – or pledge a donation to a charity benefitting those afflicted with Motor Neuron Disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Scleroris or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
He called it the Ice Bucket Challenge. As celebrities became involved and challenged one another, the event went completely viral.
It made its way to Australia and to the desk of Pat Cunningham, head of the Laugh to Cure MND charity headquartered in Melbourne.
Pat recognised both the immediacy and the potential of the campaign, setting about to replicate not only the event but to create a world record in the process – the largest group Ice Bucket Challenge.
“MND awareness week in May each year is virtually an oxymoron – it comes, then it goes. Yet here we have this massive movement where everyone is enthusiastic and positive. It posed an incredible opportunity to seize the moment and move MND to the top of people’s minds, and to give them the chance to actually do something.”
While Pat’s personal network was well-established and extensive, he lacked the ability to quickly and effectively engage with them in short period of time whilst also maximising the reach of the event.
Realising that speed and scalability would be of the essence, Pat reached out to 2cloudnine for assistance in building a digital marketing campaign, allowing Pat to focus on engaging with key influencers in the media.
A single-week integrated campaign with a very specific aim: engage with a wide, disparate audience; convince and encourage participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge World Record attempt.
2cloudnine advised on the setup and implementation of Hootsuite to bring Laugh to Cure MND’s social presence onto a single platform. This integrated Laugh To Cure MND’s multiple social media accounts, giving a single view of all social interactions in a single place, while enabling
The social channels were then used to drive potential participants to the Laugh to Cure MND website – where a ‘Register’ portal enabled attendees to sign up for the event. Pat’s existing website, laughtocureMND.com, was used as the primary collection point for all email registrations. From this point, contact details were saved into a simple database.
Running in parallel with the digital campaign was an extensive and widespread campaign through mainstream media, with Pat fronting multiple TV shows, radio interviews, working in conjunction with the sporting and political fraternities to drive interest in the event.
Already a busy man, Pat found himself working till the early hours just to keep ahead of media interest and organise the event.
“As the Ice Bucket Challenge gained momentum, everything went berserk. My phone was ringing every two minutes, I could barely keep abreast with what was happening on social media, let alone keep my inbox clear, let alone manage emails to everyone who’d signed up.”
To support Pat and to ensure that all registrants were kept engaged, 2cloudnine adapted the company’s Marketing Cloud system to represent the Ice Bucket Challenge. The team set up simple creative, responsive email designs which were implemented in preparation for outbound campaigns. Data captured from the Laugh to Cure MND website was uploaded into organised lists; these in turn were segmented into targeted groups based on previous action, subscription status, and sign up.
Throughout the week, the 2cloudnine team worked with Pat to build and execute a series of critical updates to supporters, sending through targeted snippets to those who’d registered, those who’d visited the registration page but not completed, and disengaged users.
The complete campaign – from provision of Marketing Cloud through to campaign completion – was conducted in one week.
Starting from an initial base of just 150 registered attendees, the event ultimately garnered some 1200 attendees with 850 participants in the Ice Bucket Challenge world record attempt. All of this achieved within a single week.
900 people signed up for updates, and in total 2700 emails were sent, with an average open rate of over 50% and a click through rate of 25%.
This is an exceptionally highly engaged audience, providing Pat with great opportunity to engage with the audience once again in the future – turning previously disengaged audiences into donors with an active relationship with Laugh to Cure MND.
The attempt was successful, with Australia holding the world record for most people undertaking a simultaneous ice bucket dunking. The event was televised nationally and reported on widely around the world.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved in the Ice Bucket Challenge world record attempt. We were able to build an unbelievable amount of momentum and ultimately we achieved in a week what would normally take us two years.
“We simply wouldn’t have had the same event without 2cloudnine’s help. From the outset, they were intent on using their expertise to engage with the people that had signed up for the event, to make sure we reached as many people as possible and made it as easy as possible for people to participate.
“This isn’t the end of the story, either. These people who took part in this event did so because they felt some connection with the cause, and we want to build on this further into the future. We look forward to working with 2cloudnine to this end.”
View coverage of the Ice Bucket Challenge here.