It’s been hard to ignore the influx of videos on social media over the last few weeks. From Cristiano Ronaldo to George Bush, world-renowned figures have taken part in the fundraising effort to raise money for and awareness of ALS, neurodegenerative disease. You can see the sheer number of celebrities here in an infographic showing all celebrities involved so far from our sister brand Celebrity Intelligence.
Their involvement has pushed the stunt and more importantly the disease into the cultural zeitgeist with the charity revealing donations surged past $31.5m (£19m) between 29 July and 20 August versus the $1.9m (£1.1m) accrued in the same period last year.
Now that it has millions of people worldwide engaging with the brand, the ALS Association needs to move quickly to convert that goodwill and buzz into something more lasting. Charities and non-profits are often viewed as social media dinosaurs but by having the confidence to let the concept grow organically, the organisation is showing a hunger to make social work for them.
One way to promote the cause further could be to embark on a recruitment drive for fans either through a weekly newsletter, on Twitter or on Facebook to keep that rapport going.
A flashier alternative could be to use the data such as how money raised has helped beneficiaries, academic, scientific and market research to inform content creation. Stories are the most powerful weapon in a charity marketer’s arsenal and the ALS Association could create a connection with donors, ultimately offering a compelling argument to help the cause.
Without a follow-up strategy from the ALS Association, the sheer volume of celebrities taking part in the ice bucket challenge and ensuing media coverage that follows risks distancing the stunt from its original cause.
Samsung’s latest tactical stunt brings this fear into sharp focus (see above). The brand has created a video of its Galaxy S5 getting a soaking after accepting the challenge that is being shared across Facebook, Twitter & Instragram. Beyond buzz baiting, there is no real need for the smartphone maker to enter the conversation and yet don’t be surprised if other advertisers follow suit in the coming days.
PG Tips has also jumped on the bandwagon by posting a video featuring its Monkey brand character (see below)
The more advertisers and others that attempt to coopt the stunt, the more confusing it becomes for people as to what is at the root. A rudimentary poll of friends, family and colleagues this week revealed only a small number of them were actually aware of who the ALS Association are and what they do.
The time for pats on the back and high fives at ALS Association HQ in the wake of the challenge’s viral success is over. It needs to take advantage of the buzz to enhance their online presence and drive further traffic and donations.