Polar Bear Plunge Instagram Campaign

Yes, that is me inside of that Polar Bear costume…


The start of Spring means the Polar Bear Plunge cannot be far behind. This extremely popular event has been transitioned to an ECU Tradition. The jump began in 1997 commemorating the opening of the Student Recreation Center with only 35 jumpers and has grown to over 1,000 jumpers 20 years later. Polar Bear jumpers brave the bitter temperatures and leap into the frigid icy waters of the outdoor pool in the heart of January with the lure of a T-shirt.

This was my second Polar Bear Plunge event that I worked. I created a social media plan by telling the story of “Shiver” the bear to promote the 21st Annual Polar Bear Plunge. Following the 20th anniversary of the Polar Bear Plunge was a tough act to follow and I could not of done this alone. I had a very strong team to help me create content, generate outreach and implement a social media plan to cover all ground at the event. I put together a PBP Fact Sheet for our brand new interns at the time, so there wouldn’t be a gap in communication and we would all be on the same page.

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Content & Analytics

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Our graphic designers created all of the artwork for the PBP. So, now it was our turn to create different media channels to reach the student population. We always provide the basic information on the ECU CRW website, ECU CRW Facebook Page and receptively on our Twitter and Instagram profiles.


This was before our Facebook Live Era and Before we started boosting to posts to gain reach. 

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The impressions below are from the week of the event. Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium is home to the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, NC. The official capacity of the stadium is 50,000, making it the third largest college stadium in North Carolina. By Impressions, we would fill the entire stadium at capacity and have 1.9K people who could not attend

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Note that the impressions of the tweet above are nearly 5.5K which is almost equivalent to every student in ECU’s Graduate Program. Today, ECU is the third–largest university in North Carolina with 21,589 undergraduate and 5,797 graduate students.

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This is the beginning of where extreme growth of impressions, reach and engagement started to rise. Throughout the semester these metrics increase because of our constant quality content. 

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Instagram Stories

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Jackson (Intraural Marketing Intern) and I, waiting for the jumpers to come back inside for a picture.

Snapchat Geofilter

We would have to fill Minges Coliseum over 4 times to equal the amount of people who have seen the PBP Geofilter.
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Our Polar Bear Plunge Geofilter was seen by over 35,000





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Colin and I took over ECU’s Official Snapchat account for the event to give viewers a play by play of the event!


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These are business cards that we used to advertise the PBP. My team of 5 interns and 2 other student staff used grassroots marketing techniques by passing out these PBP cards out in high traffic areas around campus every school day for two and a half weeks leading up to the event.



Two days before the event, we visited WZMB (a branch of ECU’s student media) to go live on the air to reach more students who still had an opportunity to sign up for the PBP.



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After the Polar Bear Plunge was over, I assisted our Special Events Intern, Kira and Social Media/Marketing intern, Colin in researching analytics, interpreting what we found and formatting a presentation to give in front of our professional staff.

This picture was after they presented the 21st Annual Polar Bear Plunge analytics to our professional! (I felt like a proud mom for sure)

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