As the internet is flooded with ALS Ice Bucket Challenges from friends, family and celebrities I’ve been thinking about why this campaign has been so successful and why it’s important to have campaigns like this.
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is a disease that many people don’t know about and because it only effects a very small population of people, it is hard to raise awareness around this disease. The result of this disease is paralysis for patients, eventual death and with has no cure.
I think the success of this campaign speaks to how marketing campaigns can encourage participation and raise awareness for important causes. What is the perfect mix for a successful campaign? I’m not sure, but I think these things worked for this campaign:
- Positioning it has a challenge – everyone loves friendly competition
- Having the challenge in support of a good cause – everyone likes to feel like they’re doing something good for a charity or cause
- Keeping the challenge fun, easy and for all ages. Everyone has ice and water at home
- Having a time line – a 24 hour period for your nominee to participate ensures that people do it in a timely fashion, and it has the chance to go viral.
- Encouraging donations even for those who participate – the ice buckets over the head is great for awareness but then the donation that many people do afterwards is even more helpful in getting money to research and education. To date over 30 Million dollars has been raised world wide for this cause from this campaign alone!
The question now is how does the ALS community leverage the success of this campaign to promote future education, participation and donations. Can this turn into something like “MOvember”? I think there is a great amount of learning we can do from this campaign and for other causes that are smaller like ALS and do not get the airtime that other causes, like Cancer, Heart and HIV get.
Taking away the huge amount of money that was raised from this campaign, the awareness itself that was built through this campaign makes it a success on its own. I personally can say that I had only heard about ALS and didn’t know very much on the subject. This campaign encouraged me to go out and do some of my own research on the disease and learn more – although this can’t necessarily be measured by a metric like money raised – this awareness will bring light and place more importance on this disease.
Have you participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? I have and I encourage you to, too!