5 Reasons The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Went Viral


You have probably seen the videos. It’s hard not to notice celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Taylor Swift pouring a bucket of ice water over their respective heads. This challenge has garnered the ALS Association more than $5.5 million in donations since July 29, and this continues to rise. The association saw about $32,000 in donations during the same period last year.
Why is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so big? Here are five reasons:ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

1. Can You Say “Celebrification?” (See the above list.)

Celebrities’ participation in the challenge has made this incredibly successful. Even though the rules state you can only challenge three more people, their ability to reach so many people at once is incredible.

2. Exponential Growth form Public Shaming

So, it works like this: you take the bucket and dump it over your head and then publically challenge three people to do the same. Those three people then have 24 hours to accept, record and post their own video, and subsequently challenge three more people. Once the challenge is completed, the participant is suggested to donate $10 to the ALS Association. However, if they don’t complete the challenge within the 24 hours, they donate $100.

3. It’s easy

Executing the challenge takes nothing more than a cell phone, a bucket and a social media account. This makes it accessible to basically everyone born after the stone age (prior to 1977, when the Apple II was released), which allows for a limitless expansion of awareness.

4. It Feels Organic

People like to give to a cause they feel isn’t being pushed or pedaled for some other reason, other than to help or assist those in need. In this case, the impetus is coming from your friends. Naturally. Organically. And it’s a good cause, which brings us to reason 5.

5. It’s For The “Good”

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS afflicts more than 30,000 Americans and research focused on developing more effective treatments or a cure is the ALS Association’s main goal.

The momentum of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will certainly wane at some point, but the lessons of this campaign will likely influence social marketers for the foreseeable future. To that end, we will now publically challenge those marketers to use these five reasons as a guidepost for their social strategy development. And when you do, we’ll have our buckets ready.

To find out more about the ALS Association, or to donate in a less wet and/or cold fashion go to: http://www.alsa.org/


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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