How an Ice Bucket Challenge became the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It is the sensation that raised a charity over $13 billion dollars in less than a month. Millions of people throwing ice and cold water over their heads in order to avoid coughing up to charity,  but then paying anyway. Very confusing.  Who ever heard of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis anyway? How did it take off so fast? And why?

I can tell you what it wasn’t… it wasn’t a marketing tactic or a group of advertisers attempting to create hype and attention.  In fact, by the time ALS got hold of it, it was already an established movement.

According to Wikipedia, the Ice Bucket Challenge was started by ALS patient Pete Fray. Fray’s first post regarding the challenge was on the 1st of August 2014 when he posted a video of himself dancing to Vanilla Ice’s, Ice Ice baby. Fray commented that his disease and ice don’t really mix, so instead he nominated a bunch of people to take the challenge.  That’s how ALS got all the credit.

But almost a month earlier, anybody who was a part of or had friends in the UK deaf community would have noticed people dumping buckets of water over their own heads. For no other reason it seems than just having good fun and sharing an experience with one another. It’s a true example of individuals embodying the Internet’s original purpose to enable communication outside of time and space.

As I’ve previously discussed in this blog, it’s no surprise that companies or organisations take grassroots movements and attempt to rebrand them as their own. A whole segment of the marketing industry has spawned to take advantage of this, it’s called movement marketing. But that’s the great thing about the Internet, the truth will be out there! You just have to go looking for it, and then be prepared to scroll… and scroll… and scroll.