Regardless of where you stand on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, there’s no argument that it has been successful not only at taking over the internet, but also at raising a tremendous amount of money for the ALS Association. In the past month alone, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge hashtag was mentioned 1.34 million times globally, with sixty-five percent of this volume coming from the US and three percent from Canada. To put this into perspective, Lou Gehrig's disease (the disease associated with this challenge) has only been mentioned 14 thousand times in the same time period.
Here are the three factors that made the #ALSIceBucketChallenge a success:
The challenge’s Call-To-Action was to extend the Call-To-Action:
The CTA that was crucial to the challenge’s success was putting 3 people from your network on the spot, and cornering them to make a choice that would either way benefit the organization. Each time a challenge was completed, its life was extended by a factor of 3. If a challenge were declined (thereby limiting its growth), a $100 donation would be made to the ALS Association- everybody wins!
It is extreme but accessible:
Individuals were able to complete the challenge pretty much anywhere. Celebrities and non-celebrities got involved because the challenge, extreme in nature, was not complicated. As well as the fact that the tools required were accessible.
It is altruistic, self-promoting and entertaining:
The world of social media is inherently self-promoting; and so is this challenge. Participants have the opportunity to showcase and promote their involvement for a good cause. The only difference is that the content being shared (the video) has an entertainment value for the viewership. Who isn’t curious (or excited) to watch Bill Gates or George W. Bush dump a bucket of ice water on their heads?
As far as viral social media campaigns go, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge has succeeded at generating buzz, and has raised $41.8 million so far in support of the ALS Association.
However, does this success translate into long-term awareness, education and support for Lou Gehrig's disease and the community impacted by it? Or is this just another "Harlem Shake"? I look at the graph below, and I’m not optimistic… you be the judge.