Lance Armstrong, My Wife, the Yellow Wristband and Twitter
Having won the Tour de France a record-breaking seven consecutive times (1999-2005), Lance Edward Armstrong went a long way – literally – toward winning the world over for his athletic prowess once again when he finished third this year in the prestigious, 2,200-mile, 23-day bicycle race.
But Lance is not just one of the greatest athletes of all time. He is also a tireless, tenacious advocate for cancer sufferers and their families, having beaten the dread disease himself and founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), a nonprofit organization that goes above and beyond in helping the millions of people living with cancer today.
Chances are you know of the Lance Armstrong Foundation because of its ubiquitous yellow LIVESTRONG wristbands, which were sold for the first time over five years ago to raise funds for cancer research and awareness.
I have written about the yellow wristbands several times before on this blog (here, here and here) and I have been wearing one of the more than 70 million of them that have been sold to date long before my wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with cervical cancer one year ago this week (August 7, 2008). Barbara received swift and successful treatment for the disease and was eventually declared cancer-free (thank God) — but many aren’t so fortunate and that is why the Lance Armstrong Foundation wages such a fierce, unrelenting battle.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation’s fundraising tactics have always been as brilliant as its cause is noble. Its website alone is a marketing masterpiece, but the Foundation seems to leverage practically every other communications channel just as successfully, too — blog, newsletter, direct mail, email, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, you name it.
On Twitter, for instance, you can follow Doug Ulman (President and CEO of the LAF), the LAF as a brand and even Lance himself, but it’s something else the Foundation did recently on Twitter recently that really captured my attention. The LAF made it possible for you to add the yellow LIVESTRONG wristband to your avatar.
“During the Tour de France, show your support for Lance Armstrong and the 28 million people living with cancer by adding a LIVESTRONG wristband overlay to your twitter avatar,” reads this page on the LIVESTRONG Action site.
“All you need to do is click here to add the LIVESTRONG Wristband overlay and your avatar will be updated.”
And to help the LAF spread the word virally on behalf of this fabulous idea, after you add the wristband to your avatar, a tweet is automatically posted to your account, stating…
“Support Lance’s return to Tour and #LIVESTRONG global cancer fight. Add wristband to your Twitter with 1 click – www.livestrongaction.org/avatar”
Yes, the LAF ingeniously found a way to successfully leverage something in the Twitterverse that was already a huge iconic symbol for its brand in the real world. Like the Boston Red Sox “nation” wearing red, a multitude of LAF fans, including yours truly, are now seen sporting yellow with each and every one of their tweets.
How cool is that?
Frankly, as a new marketing consultant, I’m asked all the time by businesses and non-profit organizations how to use social media to reach and engage a loyal constituency. Included in my answer now is a strong recommendation to just look what the LAF has done with its yellow LIVESTRONG wristbands on Twitter. I can’t think of a better example to emulate — or a better cause to support, either.
Note: Even though this year’s Tour de France is history, you can still add a yellow LIVESTRONG wristband overlay to your Twitter avatar. I helped my wife, Barbara, add one last night and the tweet that was automatically posted to her account afterwards read, “Support Lance and #LIVESTRONG global cancer fight. Add wristband to your Twitter with 1 click – www.livestrongaction.org/avatar.” So…
…to add a yellow LIVESTRONG wristband overlay to your own Twitter avatar, click here.
And to donate to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, click here.
Bob Cargill is a copywriter, creative director and social media marketing consultant who helps brands (both commercial and non-profit) to strategize, develop and implement successful new marketing programs. He is available for hire on a part-time, temporary, freelance, project or contract basis. To contact Bob now, click here.