Have you heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? I bet the answer to that question is yes! People from all walks of life are drenching themselves in iced water to raise funds for ALS (and other charities, which is another issue all together). It’s a web phenomenon and has spread at lightening pace with celebrities, ex-Presidents and it would seem all of your friends taking part (not been nominated yet? You will be…). It has raised over $22mil for the ALS charity, which is obviously rather amazing.

Why has it worked so well?  

First and foremost, it’s simple in many ways:

  • The stunt itself is easy to do, all you need is some buckets and some cold water
  • The capturing of it is simple – use a smart phone and then post it to Facebook (the main platform people are using to post videos, but Twitter etc are playing a key part in the spread)
  • The viral mechanism is simple – in your video, nominate three people to take up the challenge within 24 hours – this keeps things moving
  • Hashtags help to pull it all together and aid people in spreading the word
  • Pretty much anyone can do it, unlike previous campaigns such as #nomakeupselfie, which excluded (most) males
  • It’s easy to donate via SMS

There’s another factor at play here though – it’s actually a pretty nasty thing to go through, a right old shock to the system and the anticipation of the person who’s about to take a freezing shower is great to watch, then their quite often funny reaction to the dousing continues to appeal to a number of our emotions and senses. It makes everyone involved feel something, which is always a sure-fire route to success.

Keep it simple stupid

When it comes to social media, it’s often the simplest campaigns and ideas that work best. People don’t have a lot of time in their lives, so we need to ensure a simplistic approach is taken wherever possible. Multi-channel, multi-platform and multi-message will just confuse your audience and frustrate your audience. Focus people, focus!

This extends well beyond marketing, the best solutions to lives problem are the simplest. Like the poop-a-scoop. Or the whirly-gig. I love burgers, they’re simple. Ice to keep drinks cool. Simple.

Here’s a funny video of some people that struggled with the simplicity of the challenge (some choice language).

I was nominated last night by my good pal, Steven Sefton and will be taking the challenge from the sunshine- drenched Menorca on Sunday (work and travelling have led me to break the 24 hour limit!). You can donate to ALS here.

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