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They, famously, do the darnedest things.

And then they post a video online to convince millions of other minors to do them, too.

We’re talking viral challenges. Those activities of various degrees of difficulty which have mothers everywhere asking, “If all your friends jumped off something, would something something lesson, something something morals?” (Honestly, I stopped listening).

Regardless: viral challenges also offer insights that last way beyond 6-second clips.

Make a brand connection

One of the first major viral trends was the #IceBucketChallenge (completed here by famous blowtorch-enthusiast Bill Gates). Created to raise awareness for ALS, it encouraged users to dump a bucket of ice over their heads to simulate the feeling of paralysis, a symptom of the disease.

Millions of videos later, we learned that this simple, surprising execution majorly impacted funding for research and treatments. And even if you don’t get celebrity nerds to join in, you can build goodwill by teaming up with an organization that aligns with your brand and inspiring others to put some human warmth back into this cold, cold world.

Know when to bite

So, sometimes the internet isn’t a great influence. Take the #TidePodChallenge. It encouraged people (and eventually convinced 86 teens) to bite into those ultra-convenient laundry pods that resemble enormous fruit snacks. The issue? They’re extremely, EXTREMELY toxic.

A lot to learn here. First, obviously, don’t eat detergent. But the larger lesson is knowing when to bite. Trend hopping won’t get you where you’re trying to go. With some patience and good taste, a viral-worthy opportunity will come your way naturally.

In the meantime, send a fruit basket to whichever Tide social media manager had to weather that storm.

Milk your cash cows

Bigtime TikTok-ers have no doubt seen the recent #MilkCrateChallenge, where people stair-stack plastic milk crates and try to climb them without falling. They’re often unsuccessful.

While the challenge itself just gives us a good laugh (and increases urgent care revenues), the spike in crate-related sports caused their value to soar. Which feels like a heavy-handed lesson in making the most with what you have, whether that’s sticky trays or garbage cans.

All of which is a good reminder to keep an eye on viral challenges, and be inspired by all they can teach us.

And now: back to those milk crate fails.

Have a world-wide-web-worthy weekend everybody!

—Your packaging-scaling friends at Brokaw

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