ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
| THE ALS ASSOCIATION
BRAND AWARENESS AND POSITION, PUBLIC SERVICE / BRAND CITIZENSHIP, SOCIAL
In the summer of 2014, ALS was a disease most famous for Lou Gehrig, a baseball star from the 1930s. Pete Frates, Pat Quinn, Anthony Senerchia—three men diagnosed with the disease—and their families decided to give degenerative, incurable illness a pick-me-up. They challenged themselves to build awareness through something light, fun and easy, that would leverage the power of the social media. Soon “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” flickered to life. The families dared folks to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, post a video of it on Facebook, and then tag friends to do the same and donate money to The ALS Association. The user-generated videos were fun and engaging, and they spread like wildfire. Before long, Facebook feeds around the world were exploding with ALS Ice Bucket Challenge content. A cascade of politicians, pop stars, actors, athletes, chief executives, and hundreds of thousands of friends and fans were dumping ice water on their heads championing the disease. In the end, more people participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge than watched the Super Bowl and Oscars combined—and hope for a better future for ALS patients was born.
“There isn't much science behind marketing vitality, but the ALS Association's ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ is a case study in what happens when all the elements line up. It was simple, silly, social, selfless, and staggeringly successful (reaching a global audience larger than the combined audiences of the Super Bowl and the Oscars). It was also deeply human, helping to raise awareness of ALS and a record $220 million to fight it. At the end of the day, it may have spread because it relied on friends (rather than a cause or corporation) to get people to act, and to do so by doing something fun. It was fun to do, fun to watch, fun to share. Which, it turns out, is a pretty good way to approach a serious issue.”