A friend from Australia posted a video link to my Facebook page recently entitled “Duct Tape surfing.” The sheer title begged it to be viewed and shared. But add in the fact that it featured a 50 year old paraplegic women who learns to surf attached to back of a thrill seeking 20-something young man and the interest level ratcheted up even more. Quite simply it is an amazing story of sheer determination, combined with crazy Aussie ingenuity, and let’s face it a rather unconventional use of an everyday product.
18 years ago, Pascale Honore was involved in a car crash that left her unable to walk. She had always been an active person and following her rehabilitation, she found ways to get back into some of the activities she enjoyed with modified gear. Yet many things eluded her. She had never surfed, but enjoyed watching her sons go out. One day a family friend, Tyron Swan, came up with a clever method involving modifying a backpack purchased from K-Mart and a roll of Duct Tape to strap Pascale to his back. Following a few dry land trials, and simulated test runs for Tyron with 40 kg strapped to his back, the pair ventured out for real, and turned Pascale’s dream to reality.
I’ve watched the video several times now, and each time it brings a happy tear to my eye when she says, “Taped at the same height, I can picture it’s me. The sounds, the colours, the feeling, there’s no way to describe it.”
They have now embarked on a “Leggless Summer” trip of surfing, and are using the online crowd-funding platform Pozible and social media to raise awareness, help fund the trip, and deliver a universal message of “following your dreams and concentrating on the positive”. Quite simply Pascale’s message is one of hope, and she has an amazing story to share.
So what’s the marketing spin on this? The story itself is authentic and organic. And the accompanying headlines about Duct Tape surfing beg a “you have to see this” response. That is ultimately what makes it so shareable. There’s a lesson in there for anyone trying to gain publicity using social media and traditional media channels. I also would hope that the makers of Duct Tape would support the pair’s efforts, and in doing so be able to leverage an association with the higher cause of “strength brings hope.” They have a great opportunity to build an organic campaign anchored in a social cause. Certainly in this case, there is combined personal physical strength of Tyron the surfer, the emotional strength of Pascale the paraplegic adventurer, and the pure product strength of Duct Tape that turns the dream to reality. Even Red Bull couldn’t come up with something this brilliant.
Watch the amazing video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h51_z386-M
Visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/DuctTapeSurfing
As of Aug 12, 2013 there were 5,746 Facebook likes and 31,456 Youtube views. I’m willing to bet that is going to rocket up over the next few weeks!