LiveStrong Wristband
By Susanna Hamner

(Business 2.0) – Sometimes design simplicity--in this case, a $1 yellow rubber bracelet--is all it takes to make an emotional connection with consumers. When the Lance Armstrong Foundation created the charitable wristband (100 percent of its proceeds benefit the organization's cancer programs), it partnered with Nike, which donated $1 million to the cause and paid to manufacture the first 5 million bracelets. With a brand name reminiscent of Armstrong's own and a color evoking the cyclist and cancer survivor's five Tour de France winner's jerseys (he's since won his sixth), the wristband immediately struck a chord with consumers. Peddled online and at Niketown and Discovery Channel stores, the bands were sold in packs of 10, 100, and even 1,200, so buyers could pass them on to friends, fueling an instant viral marketing campaign in lieu of advertising. And by releasing the bracelets in May, shortly before the Tour de France and the Olympics, the charity ensured that they'd be seen on the wrists of prominent athletes. The product even inspired a plethora of imitators, including a pink wristband that benefits breast cancer research. "It was without a doubt the most successful viral campaign in a decade, perhaps ever," says judge Arnie Freeman. "Becoming a cultural phenomenon usually takes millions of dollars in public relations and advertising. This one did it with a lovely, simple design." -- S.H.