Effective Call to Action thru the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


What causes an individual to dump a bucket of ice water over their head? Could it be a sign of insanity, need for attention, support for a cause, or combinations of all three? This weeks’ module highlights the importance of actively engaging with consumers through the use of calls to action (CTA) techniques.

The #IceBucketChallenge, sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and encourage donations to research. It went viral on social media during July–August 2014. The challenge called to action and encouraged nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then nominating others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated participants had 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.

In an article by Covello (2014), the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge provided a case study for marketers to capture the attention of their audience and provided three basic lessons about content marketing:

  1. It’s unique, simple, and just crazy enough
  2. It hits both ends of the sad-to-happy emotional spectrum
  3. The call to action is fun and free

The Ice Bucket Challenge resulted in over $100 million being raised in 2014 to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease compared to $2.6 million in 2013. Peterson (2014) provided 16 key social media metrics from the Ice Bucket Challenge and serves as a benchmark that all content marketing strategies will aspire to in the future.

About Professor Pepe

family man and marketing professor; digital marketing, sports, hard rock, pets,& fitness enthusiast
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