The Ice Bucket Challenge: Campaign Success

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a perfect example of content which has been significantly shaped by the audience. If it wasn’t for audience participation, this campaign would not have gone viral and people would not be as aware as they are now of ALS.

Part of what made the challenge successful was that it was so easy to do, and anyone with access to social media could take part, then nominate friends to do the same. This aspect of peer pressure also forced the campaign to spread because of the social expectations placed on a person when nominated – refusing to do the challenge would make you unkind and insensitive, because it also means you are refusing to do something for charity which could be set up, filmed, and shared in less than half an hour.

Another major reason for the success of this campaign is that it allowed for personalisation. This meant that all videos were slightly different – some people poured ice water over their head and others filled the bucket with just ice, and some did the challenge in their shower while others were on the beach. Because of this element of personalisation, there was also competition to do the best challenge, which increased engagement with the campaign.

Therefore, it is clear that audience participation significantly shaped the content of The Ice Bucket Challenge, which was not only important for the success of this campaign, but also in teaching marketers valuable lessons about what makes a social media campaign go viral.



If you enjoyed my post, take a look at these articles about The Ice Bucket Challenge, which are both engaging reads!



  1. This is a nice example. This campaign is very successful and impressive. Because in my country, everybody remember this campaign which suddenly became so popular in social media. Every celebrity posted the video of ice busket challenge and donate money to the charity. And even in our school, we had this challenge to call on the students to pay more attention to the ALS.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this campaign. I think it was a fun way to fundraise and the audience had total control on how much it grew (I even did it myself). It is a great example how something can go viral as a matter of hours thanks to the power the audience has on social media. The only thing I would bare in mind with this campaign, however, is if its success was only achieved on creating awareness or if they were able to fundraise enough money to make a difference. How many people actually made a donation? But on the social media aspect, totally nailed it

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  3. That’s a good point – many people did the ice bucket challenge but then failed to make a donation to the charity, which raises the question of whether there was any point to them doing the ice bucket challenge in the first place. Yes, doing the challenge helped to raise awareness, but this awareness had already been raised by the hundreds of thousands of other people who had taken part in the campaign. The success of this campaign should be measured not only in the amount of people who did the challenge, but also how much money was raised. If this was taken into consideration, we would truly be able to see how successful this campaign actually was! Also, even those who didn’t do the challenge became aware of this campaign and donated, so it would be interesting to see how much was raised from people who didn’t have ice water thrown over them!


  4. This is a great example of a audience participation as it was such a big campaign that everyone was doing. I also really like how you used a campaign as an example rather than a website or social media platforms, it’s not something I personally thought of!


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