ASKing Too Much

Sherpa dead after promotional stunt goes horribly wrong.

ASKfm is a social media site launched in 2010 which allows friends to ask the users questions anonymously. Recently they launched their own cryptocurrency. For those who don’t know what that is, cryptocurrency is like a digital asset or a virtual currency which can be used to make transactions and since it has strong cryptography, it ensures security and keeps track of all transfers.

Now for the launch of this new currency, ASKfm’s marketing team decided to promote this by roping in three crypto-enthusiasts who would scale the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. Now why they chose Mt. Everest was because  it’s the closest thing to the moon and in the crypto community sending your currency ‘to the moon’ is a popular meme. They wanted the climbers to bury a small USB drive which had over $50,000 worth of ASKT, their new currency.  The 3 amateur climbers along with a Nepalese Sherpa scaled the mountain and buried the USB drive. Everything makes sense until now.

However this is where things take a very twisted turn. During the descent the 3 climbers noticed that the sherpa, responsible for guiding the climbers, was nowhere to be seen.One of the ASKfm climbers was reported as stating:

“At the top of Everest the weather was very bad, and then we were coming down. We were going down to Camp 4, which is at about 7900m, and one Sherpa was dying. That’s all we know.”

The climber continued: “He was behind us, so we don’t know what happened to him. We were going fast and the Sherpa wasn’t coming with us. He was coming behind so we didn’t see him.”

The sherpa was left behind and is presumed dead. He was a veteran who had been there for the last three Everest climbs and was responsible for carrying the gear of the ASKfm climbers. When the climbers reached Camp 2 they asked for  helicopter evacuation as one of them was experiencing altitude sickness. No one really knows what happened to the Sherpa or the USB containing $50,000.

All companies use unique marketing strategies in the hope to stand out and have instant recall value but ASKfm wanted to do something singularly spectacular and out-of-the-box. However, in its enthusiasm to reach the top, both literally and figuratively,  it heralded the end of the road for at least one member of its team. 

Hope other companies learn a valuable lesson.

While its great to be unique, its for your company to decide at what cost?


By Abhishek Aggarwal

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