Why Marketers Should Take Note of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted by: Alexandra Reichenbach

Why Marketers Should Take Note of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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If you’ve looked at Facebook at all during the past couple of few weeks, chances are you have heard about or seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and you may have even taken the challenge yourself. Besides raising awareness about the disease, which affects about 30,000 Americans, the campaign has raised nearly $6 million for ALS research.

Even before we had a chance to get dried off after taking the challenge, it was clear that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a wild success and a phenomenon that all local marketing experts could learn from. Here are a few key reasons why it has been so successful:

The Idea is Simple and Timely

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a winner because everyone understands what it is trying to accomplish. Someone records a video of themselves as they dump a bucket of ice water over their head, then posts it to Facebook and challenges a friend (or a handful of friends) to do the same within 24 hours or donate money. The short timeline fits the fast-paced social media environment, and makes it difficult for people to put off or forget. Also, it enables the videos to spread quickly and eventually go viral over the internet.

It’s so simple, even your grandmother can do it—and many grandmothers have done it! Almost everyone has access to a recording device these days, and within seconds a video can be uploaded from a smart phone to Facebook.

It’s Social

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is inherently social; without the challenging your friends aspect, the challenge wouldn’t happen at all. Also, it plays into our culture’s “selfie” craze. Most people love to post photos and videos of themselves on Facebook, especially if they’re doing something for a great cause.

It Makes People Feel Good About Themselves

Because the campaign supports a worthy cause, funding for ALS research, it gives people the opportunity to feel good about themselves. Giving people a mission to help others in need encourages them to participate.

It Capitalizes on the Power of Celebrity

What some people might not realize is that this campaign didn’t take off the first time it was launched. When it was relaunched, however, golfer Chris Kennedy got it started and it took off like wildfire. Since then, all kinds of celebrities and public figures, from President George W. Bush to Justin Timberlake, have gotten in on the challenge.

For local businesses that try to start a local social media marketing campaign, it may be helpful to keep this lesson in mind. Even though you have a great idea for a marketing campaign, you may need some local star power behind it to make it a real hit. Be sure that your campaign has a clear mission and is simple for everyone to understand and your business can create the next “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign.

Alexandra Reichenbach