What is the Ice Bucket Challenge?

The Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral marketing technique that helped raise millions in donations for the disease ALS.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral trend that spread like wildfire on social media during the summer of 2014. The objective of the challenge was to dump a bucket of ice water over one’s head and then challenge others to do the same. Once challenged, the person has 24 hours to do the challenge; otherwise he must make a donation of $100 to the ALS foundation. There were many people who chose to both do the challenge as well as donate to the cause.

Between July and August 2014, there were millions of people participating in the challenge. There were millions of videos uploaded online, especially on Youtube, from both celebrities to regular people. There were many naysayers criticizing the challenge, claiming that people were driven by narcissism, and focused primarily on fun rather than the actual cause. Many people also denoted the wastage of water that the challenge promoted.

Nonetheless, the end of the matter is that the challenge was very successful. It created widespread worldwide awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease, a disease that most of the people had not heard of before. It also more than doubled the amount of donations that the ALS foundations received. During the year 2012, the ALS Association had raised $19.4 million, and during the ice bucket challenge, ALS Association received over $100 million. In addition, there were also other ALS foundations that received donations.

However, it is hard to believe that originally the ice bucket challenge was not associated with ALS. In its early days, the idea was to do the challenge and donate to a charity of your choice. However, on June 30, 2014, personalities of the program Morning Drive on the Golf Channel performed a live, on-air Ice Bucket Challenge. This brought the challenge media attention. Soon after Chris Kennedy, a golfer in Sarasota, FL, USA, was nominated by a friend to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge. He selected ALS as his charity, because a family member suffered from it. Chris then nominated his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband Anthony is the one suffering from ALS. After she took the challenge, she nominated people in their community, who all supported ALS in honor of Anthony. The challenge then spread out in ALS communities, as people with ALS and their friends and family nominated others in their support structure. From there on, the challenge just took off and got to where it is today.

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