I didn’t want the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to come my way. But it did. Then I found this story. The story of the person with ALS who started it all. Warning, this video will wreck you.
I love this story of former Boston College captain Pete Frates, who has inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge. I did accept the ALS challenge and passed it on to a few close friends. But, I added a critical element I believe strongly in. I have a few friends who devote their lives to making sure people around the world have safe drinking water, so wasting a bucket of good water, even for a good cause, didn’t sit well with me. So, in addition to giving to ALSA.org I’ll be giving to TeamWorldVision and challenge you to do the same.
Not to devalue the cause, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a marketing phenomenon and all marketing teams can pick up a few great points from the campaign that has brought in millions of dollars to the ALS organization for research to cure the disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.
If you’re putting a viral marketing campaign together for fundraising or product awareness, take note of these elements that make the ALS campaign great.
1. Be Authentic. This campaign started from a heartfelt story for change. Give participants in your campaign a relevant and real connection to your cause.
2. Give a tangible challenge. Simply challenging someone to donate to ALSA.org isn’t enough for a killer campaign. Challenging someone to do something tangible, has a strong effect, and putting an 24 hour time limit on it drives it forward.
3. Empower people. Give permission for people to own your campaign. The ALS #IceBucketChallenge is a sensational success because not only does it asks for me to do something short and fun, but it also asks that I grow the event 3 fold by challenging 3 of my close friends. The peer pressure is incredible but it’s healthy here.
You won’t duplicate this campaign. Find your own voice and your own story to share. Authentic campaigns need to revolve around your story.