Going Viral with the #ALSIceBucketChallenge

Laura Noll Blog, Content and Creative

More than one friend, this week, has asked:
“What does dumping a bucket of water on yourself have to do with ALS?”

The answer? On the surface, absolutely nothing — but now that you’re talking about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the answer is “everything.”

The #ALSIceBucketChallenge and similar social campaigns take advantage of the basic principles of network marketing to distribute awareness messaging and, easily, achieve viral status.

It begins with a little self sacrifice, a bucket of chilly ice water and a a social share. Turn on your camera, dump the bucket over your head, then — this is where the magic happens — issue the challenge. Among the generations addicted to social media, the need to share the video is immediate. The fun of challenging others is unavoidable. Friends are tagged, more videos are uploaded, more friends are tagged and the cycle continues. All-the-while, ALS hashtags, mentions and donations repeatedly grace social feeds with new, organic content being added by the minute.

For all the marketers that preach “you can’t just make something go viral” — this is pretty much as close as it gets. What’s the secret? The content. And here’s how:

  1. It’s a good cause. If you don’t know someone with ALS, it’s likely that you know someone that knows someone. Most people are happy to make a donation and show their support. Especially when…
  2. …it’s a little bit edgy. Soaking yourself in freezing cold water is considered completely nuts by many. It’s not something you do everyday — and if your’e going to do it, of course you’re going to film and share it.
  3. It’s fun. Remember truth or dare? Remember how exciting it was when one of your friends actually picked “dare?” Taking the plunge is a minor trade off for the opportunity to test the guts of your friends.
  4. It’s public — so when you issue that challenge, it’s highly unlikely your friends won’t rise to it. Everyone, seriously everyone, can see them wimp out across their social networks. Plus, most people genuinely want to be included and want to join the bandwagon — especially with warm summer days at a minimum.

The effort really does have some do-good behind it. People are talking. ALS awareness is through the roof while this campaign is cycling. And while people are aware, people are donating — resulting in an efficient and effective campaign for ALSA and other benefiting organizations. Depending on your chosen donation strategy — you could be supporting future awareness campaigns, research, health care for patients and more. Freezing bucket of water or not, that feels pretty good.

Check out our team and colleagues taking the plunge above, and visit ALSA for more information about ALS and the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.

Share this Post

About the Author
Laura Noll

Laura Noll


Laura is a seasoned marketer with passion for user experience, design, development and snowboarding. Using her knowledge of ad technology and the digital space, she starts conversations — like this one. Join in: @AdStationbyAdk.