Is the Ice Bucket Challenge a catalyst for long-term behaviour change?


September 12, 2014 by Tess Riley

We’ve done it in onesies, we’ve done it with desert sand, Matt Damon’s even done it with toilet water. But phenomenally successful as the ice bucket challenge may appear, what kind of long-term behaviour change potential does it really have?

That’s a question I recently asked in the Guardian, and wrote about right here. Those whose opinions I sought for the article came up with some very different answers, and the article has continued to spark debate in the comments section at the bottom of the article and in person.

For those who did the ice bucket challenge, this is not me pouring (ice) water over your excellent achievements. Far from it. But I am keen to know how many of those who did the challenge across the world know what ALS stands for as well as what the ALS Association does, and how many of us more generally remember Kony 2012 and the #nomakeupselfie and what those campaigns were all about.

The potential of digital marketing is a powerful one that is shaping the way we engage and interact with important concepts. If the ultimate goal is to get our messages across in a way that leads to long term behaviour change, we need to make sure we measure the success of campaigns like the ice bucket challenge accordingly.

Ice buckets together


2 thoughts on “Is the Ice Bucket Challenge a catalyst for long-term behaviour change?

  1. Leah says:

    Over summer my 16yr old daughter was telling me about all her friends who had done the ice bucket challenge. I asked her which of them had donated to an ALS charity. She looked at me blankly. She had never heard of ALS and was sure none of her friends had either. They thought it was all just for a laugh. If you are going to have a campaign you need to make sure people know what it’s for!

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