In my community I’m known to be someone who is marketing and advertisingly minded and so from time to time i’m asked for my opinion on the subject.

In recent weeks i’ve been asked repeatedly for thoughts regarding the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. So, here they are. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well!

High Level Perspective

The concept has created unparalleled social awareness and exploded donations with no financial investment from ALS related foundations. In the fund development world most would agree that’s akin to flying unicorn’s - i.e. it just doesn’t happen.

Is it good awareness?

Awareness of any subject, issue or product can be enormously difficult to generate.

The old adage “any publicity is good publicity” is born out of a belief that impressions (the number of times the audience experiences the message) are sacrosanct.

For a variety of reasons i'll just note that most publicity is good publicity and from a brand communications standpoint, the ALS challenge is a homerun for awareness of the disease.

It’s easily award winning
If the challenge had been created by an ad agency, they’d be gearing up to receive every possible industry accolade over the next 12 months. The ROI, number of impressions, reach, frequency, engagement data etc are unparalleled by any social marketing campaign I’ve ever seen.

It generated awareness

The first rule in social marketing is to generate awareness. The audience needs to know the problem/opportunity exists. This usually takes years, in this case it took three months and cost nothing. This is the mother of all opportunities.

It won’t be capitalized on

The downside of this being a really authentic and organic awareness campaign is that no one owns it. No one is prepared to capitalize on it because it came out of no where. The ALS research and fund development networks are not as extensive as those for more broadly understood causes. It’s a real question as to whether or not the rank and file members of this community have the capacity to leverage this unique opportunity.

Regardless of what you think of the Ice Bucket Challenge, it represents a huge chance to put a new issue on our long-term brains and a great cause vehicle for brands in the marketplace.


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