Click here for full list of my favorite marketing campaigns.

There has never been another viral event in the history of Social Media that has resulted in more engagement, conversions and user participation than the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge. Numerous attempts have been made to duplicate its success for other charitable causes, but they all failed miserably.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, or ALS Ice Water Bucket Challenge, was a deliberate attempt at raising awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, known mostly in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and encourage donations for preventive research.

It is widely believed that friends Pete Frates and Pat Quinn created the campaign after they were diagnosed with ALS in March 2012.

The idea was quite simple: Participants would be challenged to film themselves dumping a cold bucket of ice water over their heads. Following this chilling task, the participant would then call out several of their friends to do the task, and donate money to ALS.

Because this took place on Social Media, it was very easy to upload the video, and tag friends who you chose to challenge.

Here is Donald Trump doing his Ice Bucket Challenge, while challenging several other people, including the President of the United States, who declined to participate.



The contest went viral very quickly in the months of June, and July of 2014, and even many prominent celebrities took part.

The contest was so compelling because it utilized peer pressure, by publicly calling-out others to honor the challenge, while leveraging the inborn empathy most of us has to give to charity when asked.

Also, the challenge itself was enjoyable to most in finding unique ways to undertake the challenge, such as the half-brained, half-coordinated attempts of the people on this hilarious, yet cringe-worthy, video.



At the conclusion of the viral event, the Ice Bucket videos were viewed over 70 billion times, and raised a total of $220 million for ALS prevention.

Considering this campaign cost the charity nothing, I'd say this was one of the most successful marketing campaigns in the history of the world.

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


More Marketing Campaigns of the Month

Apple’s 1984 Commercial

Apple’s 1984 Commercial

The "1984" Apple commercial was broadcast on January 22, 1984, during a break in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII by CBS which introduced the Macintosh computer. The idea behind the commercial was to differentiate the brand from the then...

got milk?

got milk?

Since 1993, the slogan "got milk", created by advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, has been one of the most memorable slogans of all time. That says a lot considering the slogan doesn't even talk about the product; in fact, it...

Get My Free Updates

Matt Steffen was listed by Forbes as the #1 Consultant Who Avoids the B.S."