Have you heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge?We will explore why Ice bucket challenge was taken up by millions of people, how it impacted the ALS (a motor neuron disease) research and plenty more about it.Have you ever wondered about those medical research projects which get billions of dollars of funding from billionaires, philanthropists and famous celebrities?
These medical researches on various diseases have been going on for too long without any fruition. Despite a lot of funding, lack of funds is definitely one among the major reasons. Why are common people not aware of these problems?
Even if we are, why dont we contribute and act until and unless we are personally affected? Is it because of lack of knowledge and awareness, or lack of enough interest and motivation to do it?Social CampaignsThe social campaign are a series of initiatives taken towards a specific social cause to raise awareness, funds and solutions for solving the social problems.
Why are Social Campaigns So IrrelevantDespite their importance in life, despite the value they provide in the long term, we never really think about them, like social problems in the society, finances, health and anything actually important but in the longer term. That is the keyword right there, we are irrational beings incapable of thinking long term for ourselves. Before you get offended, look around at the climate change we humans have created, marvellous, aint nothing like it.
If people are unaware of the importance of something, that does not mean we cannot be educated. After all, we are human beings, the smartest beings on the planet, so what if some strategy and behavioural science has to be used to make us understand the importance of what really matters. The Ice Bucket ChallengeToday, we are going to uncover the story of the famous Ice Bucket Challenge, the one which was taken up by celebrities, world-renowned leaders, sports stars, the teenager next door, the hot cheerleader at school, the nerd who aces the test with eyes closed and almost the entire world.
What was so great and impactful about Ice Bucket Challenge that almost the entire world arranged for buckets of ice despite cities like California undergoing major droughts and the sorority parties running out of ice to keep their beers cold?The Evolution of Cold Water Challenge ( The Story )There are many theories as to how it started and who started it but the major credit is given to Patt Quinn and his friend Pete Fratez. Before it famously came to be known as the Ice Bucket Challenge, it was known to people as Coldwater challenge, where a person would shower a challenge taker with ice cold water for raising awareness and capital for charities.
(any kind of charity). It started gaining traction when it was performed live on air on a golf channel program, morning drive. Within 15 days, it was aired live on television on NBC, the Today show, at Greg Norman's challenge.
It wasnt connected to ALS until Jeanette, golfer Chris Kennedys cousin who had ALS for 11 years, did the challenge. Psych ( Resonance with ALS )It sure got accidentally involved with ALS as the wave picked up, but if it were a designed campaign, it wasnt that difficult to come up with. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which is a motor neuron disease, in simple English, the human body starts failing the mind.
When you pour a bucket of ice on yourself, you freeze, and you cannot move or do what your mind wishes to, which is the feeling people with ALS get. Note: Keep this resonance in mind, we will discuss this later in this story when we will talk about why campaigns failed, which tried to imitate IBC for different causes.Story ( How Ice Bucket Challenge Exploded )Patt Quinn and his friend Pete Fratez started posting the challenge on Facebook and Twitter for fundraising.
After its initial start with Peter Frates, the movement went viral in the Boston area which showed a much higher number of posts than any other area of the United States. People started nominating their friends, celebrities, people they feel inspired by, anyone and everyone to take up the challenge. The unsaid rule was the challenge has to be accepted in less than 24 hours.
The tagged person can either take the ice bucket challenge or donate some amount(100$ in most cases) or do both. The campaign was revived in 2015, almost a year later and the response was breathtaking.According to The New York Times, people shared more than 1.
2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and August 13 and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2. 2 million times on Twitter between July 29 and August 17. At its peak, the challenge generated more than 70,000 tweets per day with hashtags such as #IceBucketChallenge, #ALSIceBucketChallenge, and #StrikeOutALS.
Psych ( how nomination played its role)One of the major factors behind Ice Bucket Challenge spreading like wildfire is social proof. Social proof states that one of the proper ways people determine to act is by looking at the way others are acting.In Robert Cialdinis book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he points out, all too frequent story of a person who is hurt or injured and a large group of people just walking or passing by without helping.
The story drastically changes if the person who has been hurt calls out to a specific individual in the crowd. In Ice bucket Challenge, the nomination of people triggered a social proof which is why it started spreading the way it did.Campaigns when studied deeply unravel so many psychological triggers of why people did what they did, which could be studied and adapted to craft impactful and effective campaigns in future.
There have been many campaigns which had integrated nominations and resonance but didnt work the way IBC did. That is because these two are just the reason why it started spreading, now we will dive deeper into why it had spread like a wildfire.Psych ( nominations fine, why would people still do it )Someone nominated you to dump a huge bucket of ice on your head, if you are not crazy, you would definitely ponder why should I do it?
Majority of the people did not, because:a. Ice bucket challenge is associated with ALS through resonance. When you question the Ice bucket challenge, you question ALS, you question the emotions of the patients and sentiments of the patients families.
You would come out as a cynic who doesn't care. I know it sounds narcissistic but if I were to use something like this in a campaign for a good cause, I would do it because the impact it has had is way more than people losing out on a few dollars and having some ice bucket fun. b.
More than coming off as a cynic, nomination process also makes it personal and friendly. When someone nominates you, they are extending an olive branch to you, they want to share an effort with you for an important cause.Psych ( The Creativity of the Challenge)It all comes down to the fact that it was fun and exciting.
It resonated with the cause. It had a layer of social proofing, it was caught up by celebrities and managed to maintain a lot many psychological triggers too. But the creativity behind designing the challenge is one of the major factors why it became what it became.
In todays world, anything is incomplete without measuring. I dont like this statement but I do believe measuring reach, impressions, funds collected etc can add a sense of accomplishment here to IBC.The ImpactWithin weeks of the challenge going viral, The New York Times reported that the ALS Association had received $41.
8 million in donations from more than 739,000 new donors from July 29 until August 21, more than double the $19. 4 million the association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013. On August 29, the ALS Association announced that their total donations since July 29 had exceeded $100 million.
The ALS Association is just one of several ALS-related charities that have benefited from the challenge. Source: wikipedia. org/wiki/Ice_Bucket_ChallengeI would like to believe the ROI was pretty great here and in terms of long term vision, Ice bucket challenge raised awareness about ALS which would have otherwise taken years.
Other Similar Campaigns & why you havent heard of themThe Ice Bucket challenge was followed by multiple bucket challenges like the rice bucket challenge in Asia, the book bucket challenge, my tree challenge and many others.These campaigns failed to create an impact, not because they lacked a serious social cause but because their execution was not psychologically sound. The efforts these campaigns asked the audience to make did not resonate with the cause, it did not have the element of surprise and wasnt exciting.
Despite incorporating the triggers like social proofing and nomination, they failed to create an impact. The triggers cannot be copied and applied as and when required for a campaign, it requires a meticulous understanding of the audience, how they would respond, the sync of psychological triggers, why it would work and a lot more which is a discussion for some other time. If you enjoyed what you read, you can read about a revolutionary social campaign enforced the govt.
to take action.Me:I am a brand strategist and a campaigner. I help brands/businesses with strategy, communication and participative campaigns.
You can get in touch with me at srv. verve@gmail. com.
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