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5 Valuable Marketing Lessons Learned From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Anyone who has been active on social media in the last few weeks will likely have seen numerous videos of people dumping ice water over their heads. This is what is known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and it is a social media fad with several important lessons for marketers. How exactly did people dumping water over their head become such a viral success? Marketers should consider the following:

1. It is Painfully Simple All an individual needs to participate is a smartphone, an account on a social media website along with a bucket and some ice. There are no complicated rules and the short list of essential items makes it geared for the majority of social media users. They dump the water on themselves and challenge a few more people to do it; the whole thing can be performed in a few minutes and shared with the world using a couple of short hashtags. 

2. Brilliantly Timed The fact is that an ice bucket challenge in the dead of winter would not be nearly as much fun for participants. During vacation season, the weather is perfect and people are more willing to participate in fun activities. 

3. The Charity Aspect The Ice Bucket Challenge was more than just a fun activity; it began as a way to promote a charity. It was meant to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also called Lou Gehrig's disease. This means that those who participated got to feel good in two ways: they had fun and they helped a cause at the same time. The challenge draws attention to a worthwhile charity so that people get to help others in need. It also gives them something in common with the various celebrities who took on the challenge. 

4. Fun to Do and to Watch This means that people had a clear motivation to perform the challenge, to share it and to watch others performing it. This is the perfect combination of factors for viral marketing. The Ice Bucket Challenge relies on simple humor that appeals to a broad range of demographics. Not even language is a barrier. It was also fueled by an element of peer pressure; people did it because their friends were doing it. 

5. Use Celebrities The viral success also had a lot of help from celebrities. It started out among local Boston celebrities and eventually grew to involve a variety of nationally famous individuals. From sports stars to famous actors and musicians, numerous celebrities have dumped ice water on themselves. The fact that celebrities were participating was a big reason for the media coverage. 

On its surface, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may appear to be just another in a long line of viral video trends. It is not unlike the cinnamon or ghost pepper challenges of yesteryear; however, it appears to be the most successful one yet. The immense popularity of smartphones and social media means that the lessons listed above may be applied to viral marketing campaigns. 

Information provided by TCA Partners Ads

Image Source: http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2014_34/626516/140819-ice-bucket-challenge-1949_899e03e1c58b45b56812f96bc79680a6.jpg

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Karleia Steiner

Karleia Steiner

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