I have to admit that when I saw all these people pouring ice cold water on themselves I was very confused. Why would anyone want to pour cold water on themselves? Are they trying to catch pneumonia? But after a while I noticed, no one was nominating me, and that kind of made me mad, but once I got over that, I realized that they were doing it for a reason. People were pouring buckets of ice cold water on their heads to either raise money or raise awareness for the disease called ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement and basically paralyzes and deteriorates the body of the person who has it (something I probably wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for the challenge). Now, a lot of people argued that the people doing this ALS Ice Bucket Challenge were people just following the new trend, trying to ‘keep with the times’. They lumped this challenge in with the fire challenge or the knockout challenge (look them up on YouTube, these challenges are senseless and dangerous!) but the ice bucket challenge was a brilliant way to raise awareness for a disease that wasn’t really known to a lot of people.
Even if the people who were doing the challenge were doing it just to look cool, the purpose of the message was still put out there. Even if ALS wasn’t specifically referenced in the video, anyone with just a little curiosity could look up more ice bucket challenges and find out the real reason behind this challenge. One Google of ALS later and BAM, awareness has been raised. This challenge combines having a little fun with spreading an important message and it is very effective.
More recently, on Facebook I was nominated to do the Bible Verse challenge. It’s pretty simple, you post your favorite Bible verse as your status if you got nominated, and then you nominate a couple of other people in return. This was a great way to spread some messages about God on Facebook, and since it was a challenge no one could say you were forcing it upon them or shoving it down their throat.
It’s an easy, fun, and effective way of spreading a message. No one wants to back down from a challenge, it plays on a common human attribute and it gets the job done. And thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS foundation received a large spike in donations, for those people that doubted the effectiveness of this marketing strategy.