One of my favorite public relations campaigns is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge itself was fairly simple, involving people being filmed as a bucket of ice-cold water was poured over their head. Participants would then ask others to do the same and share their own videos on social media. If the task was not completed in 24 hours people were encouraged to donate money to the ALS Association.
As an upcoming public relations professional, I am fascinated by this campaign’s exceptional ability to generate such widespread attention. The campaign was able to generate more than 3.7 million ice bucket videos on Instagram alone in only a few weeks. This was done with absolutely no funding towards advertising. With this, more than $100 million was raised towards the ALS Association.
The Ice Bucket challenge uses three exemplary PR techniques that allow it to generate success.
1) Utilize Multiple Outlets – The Ice Bucket Challenge was shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sources. This allowed it to instantly become a viral campaign and reach and wide variety of audiences.
2) Keep Tasks Simple & Fun – Although the Ice Bucket Challenge benefits a very serious disease, the campaign itself is easy going and fun. Everyone can relate to it and include their own creativity when performing the task.
3) Use Mass Media Markets for PR - The Ice Bucket Challenge was featured on mass media outlets such as ESPN Sports Center and The Today Show. This allows the message to be quickly spread to the masses
4) Use Prominent Public Figures: People such as Justin Bieber and former President Barack Obama took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge.