Here’s a clever if not-fully-realized way that Samsung got in on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and demonstrated one of the benefits of its handset (water resistance) vs. others:
Yet most brand efforts to exploit social-media phenomena like this are doomed to fail or worse (trigger a backlash). There are perhaps some lessons to be drawn from carefully studying how the whole thing got going and why it exploded but ultimately it was fun/daring and for a good cause. Both ideas played equally in the popularity and spread of the thing.
Marketers will be hard-pressed to generate any sort of “Ice Bucket formula” that can be cynically applied to general social media marketing campaigns.