Marketing Week: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation- Impact of Stories on Marketing (10/6/2017)
By: Matthew Duddy
On Friday, October 6, Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Father of Alex, Jay Scott, came to speak to Temple University’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. His big takeaway: the importance of storytelling in the marketing world.
The story of Alex’s Lemonade Stand is one that will leave a lasting impression on society forever. Just two days before her first birthday, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. At the age of four, the family decided to seek out options for further treatment. Given that her family lived in Connecticut at the time, New York seemed like an appropriate place to seek out treatment. After a visit to the big city, doctors could not find any viable solutions there to treat this cancer. Before the family left, one of the doctors referred them to a place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she could receive experimental treatment. The treatment turned out successful and gave Alex the opportunity to return home to Connecticut shortly after that.
It was January back in Connecticut when Alex chose to start her lemonade stand. At the age of four, her goal was to raise money to fund the cancer treatments of other children. Her first day out in the front yard of the Scott family home, Alex raised $2,000. This was an extremely impressive number given the cold weather of January. The following day she had raised $800, which upset her because it wasn’t an improvement. She then began to reassess holding her stand out in the colder months of the year.
Alex waited until Spring time to open her lemonade stand back up, and flyers were created to promote around her school. One day a parent stumbled across her flyer and decided to give The Philadelphia Inquirer a call. The rest was history as they wrote up a one-page article on Alex’s story, which went viral. As Jay Scott explained, “So many people could connect with her story.”
Alex began receiving phone calls and letters just about every day, being referred to as the “lemonade girl.” The power of her story motivated others to join her efforts in ending childhood cancer. After battling with cancer for another four years, Alex passed away in 2000. She was just eight years old at the time. Before passing, she had hit her goal of raising $1 million through her lemonade stand. It then became Jay Scott’s mission to keep his daughter’s efforts going, and by 2004 there was a lemonade stand in every country of the world.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand (ALS) is the perfect example of creating substantial impact through means of storytelling. By creating a meaningful cause with an authentic message attached to it, your audience is able to resonate and become part of the mission. Once this connection is created, people are more than likely to do anything in their power to contribute to the cause. In turn, the organization spends hardly any money on advertising, and has funded more than 700 research projects at 130 plus institutions across North America. ALS seeks to continuously make efforts in ending childhood cancer, as their contributions change the lives of families for the better.
Temple’s chapter of AMA presented Jay Scott with a check for $1,250 at the conclusion of his speech, as we make our contribution to the ongoing story that is Alex’s Lemonade Stand.