The idea is to post a video of yourself doing it, to prove that you didn’t chicken out, and this gives you the right to challenge some of your lucky friends to join in. But if the challenge is not accepted, the chicken is asked to donate cold hard cash, anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on their challenger’s demands.
The challenge has gained wide attention as celebrities, sports figures and politicians have all participated in the challenge. President Obama was even challenged by Ethel Kennedy. The president declined to dump ice-water over his head, but did say he will make a donation according to White House spokesperson Eric Shutlz who said, “The President appreciates Mrs. Kennedy thinking of him for the challenge – though his contribution to this effort will be monetary.”
It’s a genius campaign idea that taps right into the human condition. The Ice Bucket Challenge takes advantage of our competitive nature, our willingness to have a laugh in the name of a good cause, and our desire to “be seen” doing the right thing.
It’s only one humble opinion, but my experience of human nature is we like to be seen to do the right thing, as much as we like to actually do the right thing. Which is why the invention of social media platforms has changed the face of charity fundraising forever. There’s no denying a certain amount of good-natured altruism exists in every Ice Bucket Challenge. But it’s the exhibition of this altruism that’s really powering the craze.
Don’t mistake my observations as criticism of either the charities or the individuals behind the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s officially a piece of social media marketing genius. A dream campaign that not only uses the human condition for greater good, but it has the staying power to help any charity in the world.
The ALS Association says the following about the disease:
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”
(Photo courtesy of Andrew Booth)