Archive for August, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral with Big Results

August 19, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral and with big results. According to the ALS Association, it has received $15.6 million in donations between July 29 and August 18 (and then more than doubled that number in the next two days to $31.5 million)* from people who took videos of themselves being doused with ice cold water. That’s a phenomenal increase over $1.9 million during the same time period last year.

I first became aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge last week when I was screening an episode of Today Kathie Lee and Hoda and watched Hoda get doused with a bucket of ice water. The next thing I know, I see videos popping up all over Facebook with my friends and family sharing their videos accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was then I started to see the ALS fundraising mentioned (while secretly hoping that I don’t get nominated for the challenge since I’m a real baby when it comes to dousing myself with freezing cold water, so guess I’ll be writing a check).

Celebrities have been accepting the challenge on air in various TV programs which have been digitized and made sharable via social media. Everyone from Oprah to Lady Gaga to Ben Stiller, plus politicians, athletes, and thousands of everyday Americans have been posting videos of themselves online participating in the event.

More than 1.2 million videos have been shared on Facebook showing the challenge between June 1st and Aug. 13th and Twitter estimates that the Ice Bucket Challenge has been discussed in more than 2.2 million tweets.

You can never really know why something goes viral since it is so difficult to cut through the white noise, but social media has played a big role in the phenomenal success of this fundraising promotion and created a synergistic phenom.

Why has this simple idea exploded?

  • Social media has made it possible to spiral viral across all platforms from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others.
  • The challenge is simple, fun and plays to the “I dare you to do it.”
  • The challenge is designed with a continued call to action to keep it moving (the Pay It Forward principle.)
  • It’s for an important and charitable cause – ALS Research – and makes people feel good to help the cause.
  • And let’s not forget the timing. It’s summertime and it’s HOT outside. I don’t know if this would have caught on the same way in January when it’s freezing.

This campaign will be one for the history books as a model for future concepts to get people involved.  Any attempts to duplicate it’s success must be met with simplistic creativity.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign is one I hope keeps growing since ALS has touched my life in a very personal way. My childhood friend, Joe Eades, lost his courageous battle with ALS in April of 2010.  The photo below was taken eight months before and I treasure that visit during a trip to Denver.  The disease had progressed so that he needed a wheelchair for mobility but he was still able to carry on conversations and he was in good spirits.  Joe invited me to join  his family for dinner that night as they ordered in pizza. It was the last time I would see him this side of heaven.

Joe Eades 2009

I sponsored Joe in fund raising activities to find a cure after he was diagnosed and I know he would love the Ice Bucket Challenge. He would be the sort of guy who would enthusiastically accept the challenge and then go on to nominate three more people to accept his challenge and keep it going.


*UPDATE: As of August 28th, reports that they have raised $94.3 Million since July 29th.  A simple idea that snowballed dramatically!

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Copyright (c) 2014. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.