The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Deconstructed for Universal Digital Success Hacks

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Tom (Cruise), Bill (Gates), Mark (Zuckerberg) and David (Beckham) have done it already. In all likelihood, so have Tom, Bill, Mark and David from your neighbourhood. Yes, we’re talking about the ALS ice bucket challenge. Even here in Singapore, we have our very own Rebecca Lim, Shigga Shay, Fandi Ahmad, and George Young dumping icy water on themselves for charity.

So how did the ubiquitous Ice Bucket Challenge create such a social media storm and generate widespread awareness about a disease not very well known as ALS? More importantly, what can you, as an online marketer, learn from this phenomenon?

Here’s our takeaway:

1. Define the goal – The ALS challenge has a goal that is both simple and easy to achieve. After all, how hard can it be to douse yourself in ice and water and donate $10 to the organization? If you are not up for the challenge, you have to make a donation of $100 for being a spoilsport!

2. Be original and innovative – Think about it, we were all original, creative and just the right kind of crazy as kids but stopped being so as adults. Time to go back to our roots as the ALS phenomenon teaches us.

3. Cut down on the rules and barriers – How many do’s and don’ts can you list when it comes to the ice bucket contest? Practically none right? That means literally anyone who has a bucket of water and ice and phone to record a video clip can participate.

4. Play to your audiences’ vanity – Let’s face it, people like to show off. Social media makes it easy to do so! The challenge tickles the competitive spirit as the icy water can be a bit umm…chilling…but not impossible to do. As a “show-off “ video, it hits the sweet spot.

5. Be viral – Participants have to nominate three friends to take the challenge as well. Design a campaign that has a viral component built in, and voila! watch your community engage.

Was it perfect? Nothing ever is. Here’s a tweak that would have worked it better… maybe!

1. A clearer message – One of the criticisms of the ALS ice bucket challenge is that it has generated more hype than awareness about the disease itself. You can take a cue from here and ensure your goal does not get lost in the whole deal.

So do we recommend brands to launch into something similar? No. Will we see such viral ideas coming up soon…maybe! How much did the organization end of raising? Now we are talking ROI and it is a whopping $112.4 million as of September 12, 2014.

We at Pi (a division of Web Spiders) also had an early adopter of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge:

An unofficial awards list of the ALS ice bucket challenge is likely to read as follows:

The Funniest: Riley Brothers ALS Challenge Fail

The Most Tragic (oops!): Mr Ryan Fletter from Illinois

The Most Heartfelt: ALS Patient Photographer Anthony Carbajal

And the Most Popular: Bill Gates Ice Bucket Challenge

From the social media fact center, here’s what the sentiment growth looked like:

The highest positive hits the Ice Bucket Challenge received were 1065287 whereas the highest negative hits were 558815 between 17th – 23rd August 2014.

The ALS conversation reached its peak (862.22K Hits) on 21st August 2014 on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

It was at its lowest (3.86K Hits) on 24th September 2014 on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

If you are still looking for more information and are inspired to make a donation (without the chilling water experience that too!) do visit: www.alsa.org

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