How The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Utilized the Power of Social Media

The power of social media has allowed us to connect with each other and send out information instantly.  In summer 2014, a phenomenon was born that brought awareness to ALS or commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. The ALS association attributes three men for starting this phenomenon: Pete Frates, Pat Quinn and Anthony Senerchia. The challenge involved people pouring a bucket of iced cold water on themselves and nominating their friends to participate. The challenge was simple: you have 24 hours to accept the challenge, donate, or both. The family of the three men created videos pouring water on themselves and would nominate their friends and family. Friends and family of the three men were constantly commenting and sharing their videos and after the first week the local news picked up the story. In the second week the national media picked up the story and eventually it went global. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge created hope for a cure for the future.


This is my favorite digital campaign because it started with a small video to bring awareness to ALS and blew up because of the power of social media. It wasn’t a super bowl commercial and wasn’t  professionally produced. It was authentic and actually had meaning behind it and raised awareness to a cause that many people were not aware of. This campaign is unique and different because it wasn’t a marketing ploy from a company to buy their product. The whole idea was fun and silly, while supporting a serious issue. The power of social media is amazing and this proves the influence that  sites like Facebook and Twitter have.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was very successful because it was fun and silly but also  generated awareness to ALS. The #IceBucketChallenge on Facebook and Twitter went viral and got a huge following. Everyone around the globe participated, from young children to adults. Your Facebook feed was constant with Ice Bucket Challenge videos and you would see your friends and hundreds of celebrities participate. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all created videos and donated. It was successful because people were constantly sharing their videos and nominating each other. Once you were nominated you had to accept the challenge and hopefully donate! Another reason it was so successful because there was no specific demographic. This challenge was for everyone and people around the world truly came together to bring awareness to the disease. Many people were not aware of the disease and by watching these videos they were able to learn about it and even donate.

In total the challenge raised over $220 million for ALS research!  It all started with one video in Boston and it became the largest medical fund raising campaign in history. It also was the second largest conversation in Facebook history. There was 17 million videos recorded in 159 countries! In total there was 10 billion views of video film.The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral sensation and an excellent digital campaign. It was even featured on “Business Insider” for being one of the best digital campaigns. This was an excellent campaign because it was authentic and people were really excited about it. People wanted to be apart of it and create videos and donate. This campaign brought us one step closer to finding a cure for ALS.

For more information about the disease and to donate go to


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