NBS, Rio De Janeiro / FUNDACAO ONDAZUL / 2015

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Our first goal was to reach the thousands of Brazilians involved with the Ice Bucket Challenge: the ones who already did it and those who would still take it. According to O Globo newspaper, 51% of Brazilians are connected to the Internet and 77% of them are social network users. So we knew our potential target was huge enough to make a difference on water issues. But we also knew that taking a free ride on a viral hit was an opportunity to reach a way bigger audience. Mass media coverage could boost the Empty Bucket Challenge message even further.


In order to bring consciousness to the serious water crisis Brazil has been into since 2014, we took a free a ride on a social media phenomenon that was already a Direct campaign: the Empty Bucket Challenge. But to make it become a true viral, our slogan needed the same simplicity and direct message that the original challenge had. That’s why we went for a short and clear message: donate with no waste.

Consumer generated videos were the main element. Although we created a website to host them and provide information, they were the ones who could make an impact on social networks. Each person who took part of it, or at least shared one video, contributed to the strength of our peer-to-peer strategy. In the end, an Internet viral, who was already contributing to an important cause, gained one more valid reason to be shared.


To show its support to the cause, OndAzul first donated R$ 500 to a Brazilian institution related to ALS research. Then a website was created to show not only the donation’s receipt, but also our alternative proposal for the challenge: use and empty bucket instead of filled with water. On a specific field, people could paste Youtube links of their own Empty Bucket Challenges.

The website also contained lots of information about water scarcity, tips on how to prevent it and real data about the wasting already caused by the original challenge. After the website went online, we started our PR strategy to publicize this new version of the movement, and engage those people who would still do their challenges.


Our challenge went viral too. On social networks, thousand of anonymous engaged in this new vision of the movement by recording or sharing videos. Celebrities spontaneously took part, which includes Rafinha Bastos, followed by 7M on Twitter and Nanda Costa and Roberto Birindelli who were currently starring important soap operas.

The challenge received large media coverage in the country, including “Domingão do Faustão”, Brazil’s most popular talk show. But the news went further and international websites also debated our initiative. TrendHunter quoted that “people are encouraged to take part, and make twice as much of a statement with their video uploads for ALS”.

At the end of the first week, PR value was estimated in U$ 1.2 million and more than 12 million people were reached. That’s how with the simple act of a donation, we supported the original cause and started a huge conversation about another one: water waste.


The Ice Bucket Challenge, promoted to fundraise Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis research, went viral in 2014. According to the Washington Post, more than 18.9 million liters of water were wasted. This amount would be enough to fill 63 million glasses or even take 420 thousand showers.

Meanwhile, a huge part of Brazilian population struggles with water shortage and the country’s three most populous states are experiencing their worst drought since 1930. Although the challenge’s cause was noble, OndAzul (“Blue Wave”), a Brazilian NGO related to environmental issues, needed to show that wasting water wasn't an appropriate idea, especially in this scenario.

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