#IceBucketChallenge: Unplanned Viral Success

As one of the over 3 million people who have participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, it has been amazing to watch the success of this campaign.

Before I was challenged, I was in a meeting with the Executive Director of a nonprofit and I was asked for my thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge from a branding perspective. The gentleman I was meeting with shared his surprise that it was not created by an agency and how quickly it took off. To him, while it is a great and admirable success, he didn’t understand it.

But I did.

Yes ALS is not a part of common conversation like cancer or tumors, it is a progressive illness that hits the nerves and the brain and can lead to paralysis and death. With no cure, today’s treatment can only extend the life expectancy for its sufferers and technology can make it more enjoyable or fulfilling.

Think back to the 2014 Super Bowl. In a Microsoft advertisement for the Surface, Steve Gleason, who played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000-08 and who will always be remembered for his blocked punt on the night the New Orleans Superdome reopened for the first time after Hurricane Katrina was featured. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. This commercial showed an example of how people are using Microsoft technology to make life better. The ad is inspiring and brought many to tears.

While I don’t know of any studies around this, it only seems fitting that less than six months after this game changing ad series began, that the fundraising campaign supporting the exact cause featured goes viral raising over $100 million dollars and is traveling the world.

Have you participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge? Watch my video here.
What Do Technology, Sociology, Psychology, and Social Media Have in Common?
Social Media Leadership at City U Seattle