10/14/14

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge . . .

This summer was owned (What is this "pwned" thing all about, by the way? You crazy kids and your Internet slang and VD.) by the insanity of the ALS ice bucket challenge.

MILLIONS (115, to be precise) were raised. THOUSANDS of gallons dumped. THOUSANDS of people gasped for air after the jolt of the dump. But for what?

Was it "worth"? I'm a marketer. We look at awareness as a key threshold for engagement which is code for action (either asking/learning more or buying something, etc.) but awareness implies you learn OF something and that sparks an interest.

To that end - I am declaring the Ice Bucket Challenge a failure. I know, I know . . . SO much raised. SO much good could come of it (for the record even the ALSA is unsure of exactly how they will spend the money) because very few really learned anything. They just saw something "viral" and wanted to be part of it (giggle, giggle - get the camera!).

I'm wrong? Okay. Let's test the theory.

Here is a quick, five question, quiz about the benefactor of this summer's biggest hit. NO CHEATING . . .
  1. What does ALS stand for?
  2. What percentage of ALS sufferers overcome/beat/survive the disease?
  3. How frequently does ALS claim a life in the US?
  4. How do you "get" ALS?
  5. What are the most encouraging possibilities for treating/curing ALS today?

How did you do? I'll bet that you - like most people - got no more than two questions right and I'd double down on a bet that most would get just one (number four - am I right?).

The point? Money raised is great for a non-profit. Money given to a non-profit is a great gesture but, like with sex with strangers . . . a little information and knowledge going in makes for better decisions and fewer burning sensations later.

Why did we open our checkbooks following "likes" on Facebook? How many would give $100 to a cause just to do it? I was shocked to learn that over 95% of American households give SOMETHING to charity every year and the AVERAGE donation (per household) is nearly $3,000. That is way, way more than my cynical heart presumed.

That is great. There are thousands of good, pure, honest non-profits (I give annually to the United Way, The Arc of Sedgwick County, KMUW, KPTS, my congregation, my kid's school's PTA, and a few other random things every now and again) because I care about each of those causes/things, they put the money back to use in my community, and I want to protect all those things. If you really care about ALS (and we all should - it is pretty horrible), give to them. If you do not (or if you care more about something else) give to THEM.

And for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY will you people please learn that holding your phones in the "portrait" orientation makes for far more compelling video? At least Ray-J and Kim Kardashian got THAT right.