We all remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, right? This viral awareness campaign was put in action to raise money for ALS. The campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars for a cause that many people had previously not even heard of. It flooded everyone’s social media and people from all over the world were pouring ice-cold buckets of water on their heads.
Over three million people worldwide took part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” and the campaign raised more than 35 times what the ALS Association raised during the same amount of time the previous year. This is an extraordinary campaign and sparked so much interest.
So, what made this campaign so successful? The “Ice Bucket Challenge” did extremely well and here are some reasons why:
1. A simple idea
In the most basic sense, this campaign is extremely simple. The participants don’t need to learn anything new or go anywhere. Everyone has access to the ingredients for the challenge. The instructions are easy to follow and obvious. These allows for almost anyone and everyone to participate.
The challenge creates personalized content that people want to share with their friends. It’s highly visual and entertaining. Even if it’s just a selfie, personalized content can make a participant feel more involved in the cause.
3. Call to action
The actions themselves were easy to identify and follow. The message was clear – pour a bucket of ice water on your head and nominate three other friends to do the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”.
4. Great cause
People feel like they are really making a difference when participating in the challenge. There’s a strong feel-good factor to this campaign.
It was the right time to do the challenge. It took place in the summer season of North America. This is no coincidence. The challenge probably wouldn’t have been as popular if it was the middle of winter.
6. High impact
The challenge only lasts a few seconds and yet creates a huge impact. It’s the ability to do a small act for a big cause.
Everyone can take part of the challenge. There’s no minimum donation amount. Sharing socially is free. The challenge kind of unexpectedly created a huge community.
Other brands were able to participate and brand their participation. For example, when KFC participated they dressed up an actor as the Colonel and did the challenge with a big KFC bucket. Everyone wins.
Was the “Ice Bucket Challenge” one-of-a-kind? Is this an idea that can keep working with other brands and ideas? Who knows. Like most things that go viral, there isn’t a specific recipe. Either way, this challenge was a great example of a very successful CSR campaign for a great cause.
Thanks to Mark Di Somma at Branding Strategy Insider for some ideas on the topic.