Viral ice water

Here’s a good start on explaining the huge success of the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” that was all over the media (especially social) in August – Erin Carson, Tech Republic:

  • Compelling message with emotional resonance (humor);
  • Peer pressure (competition)
  • Time sensitivity – 24 hours to respond;
  • Low physical risk to participants;
  • A clear “template” (what to do) with a clear call-to-action;
  • Mobile usability – easy ‘shareability’.

I would add:

  • Trust in the ALS Association – a known, recognized organization
  • Awareness of ALS as a horrible, incurable disease (fear, self-preservation)
  • Getting a tax write-off.

And I’d also emphasize the particular strength of “peer pressure” (competition) among celebrities – even if a member of the Rich and Famous Club wasn’t initially interested in participating, his or her publicist probably said “you gotta do this,” especially after it reaching a tipping point when le-tout-LA was doing it and celebrity wannabees and anyone chasing easy “cool” points started doing it, too.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, it required all participants to challenge someone else. Here’s from a list of “Top 10 Reasons People Give” I recently found in a file of goodies I saved from my work for the foundation that fundraises for Boston Children’s Hospital: “Ask and Ye Shall Receive: the number one reason people give–someone asked them to give!”

Mickey Rourke accepts the challenge on "Late Night."

Mickey Rourke accepts the challenge on “Late Night.”