Expert Consumer Research from Covance Food Solutions

Updated! Market Research Steps Up To The ALS #icebucketchallenge (And Learns About Social Campaigns Too!)



The ALS #IceBucketChallenge has taken over Twitter and Facebook, and this past week several MR industry notables joined in. The Challenge entails donating $20 to the ALS Association and filming yourself pouring a bucket of ice water on your head, then challenging three more people to do the same. If they don’t complete the challenge they are asked to donate $100.  And of course the video needs to be posted on your available social media networks. 

If you’re not familiar with this terrible disease here is a blurb:


ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Ending the career of one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, the disease is still most closely associated with his name. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.


This is a wonderful example of visual media virality, gamification, the power of influence, and how social media drives awareness. The ALS reports that:


As of Sunday, August 17, 2014, The ALS Association has received $13.3 million in donations compared to $1.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 17). These donations have come from existing donors and 259,505 new donors to The Association.


For all who doubt the marketing impact of social media, this should be a wake up call. When done cleverly and in an engaging way, social campaigns do move the needle.

The current wave of MR participants started last Thursday when  Tim Lynch of FocusVision issued a challenge that included myself and Kerry Hecht of Dub.  Here is Tim’s video: Tim Lynch #icebucketchallenge .

At the same time, Mike MacLeod of Lightspeed was also challenged and threw down his own gauntlet (see his video here).

Kerry and I responded within the allocated 24 hours and have kept the vector expanding. Here is Kerry’s response: Kerry Hecht Labsuirs #icebucketchallenge, and for your viewing pleasure my own:



Among those I challenged was Tom H. C. Anderson, who upped the ante (and the anticipation) in his own inimitable way:



You can read his take on his blog here.

This morning Heath Adams of Australian researcher firm Sprout Research showed us how it’s done Aussie Style:



Folks like Oprah Winfrey (and her buddy Gail of course), Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Eddie Vedder and many others have all joined in with their own videos. For my money though the best overall has been Bill Gates:



I’ve talked publicly about my very personal connection to neurological conditions, so this cause is one I am most definitely a supporter of. I hope the rest of the industry will join me and others in raising both awareness and donations for it. PLus, it’s fun!

If you’ve participated in the challenge, please post a link to your video below!


Lots of folks have now joined in with their own videos, here a few that I saw this past week:

Gongos (the biggest one so so far: the whole company joined in! Post by Gongos: Decision Intelligence Company. This gives a whole new meaning to “doing the wave” doesn’t it?

Caroline Winnett took it a step further, and rather than having a little cold water poured on her, she jumped into a freezing cold mountain lake!


Matt Valle was cool as ever and his kids had a blast making him even cooler. Post by Matt Valle.

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7 responses to “Updated! Market Research Steps Up To The ALS #icebucketchallenge (And Learns About Social Campaigns Too!)

  1. Thanks. That was fun and for a great cause too. It’s important not to take oneself too seriously. This may be one of the most successful memes ever, and certainly a charity campaign to admire and get inspiration from in the future.

  2. Lenny, thanks for further publicizing this innovative campaign that has apparently already raised $10s of millions for the condition.
    I accepted a challenge from Dub’s Kerry Hecht, however preferred the ‘dryer’ option and donated AU$100 to the Motor Neurone Disease Australia. Great to see Heath Adams of Sprout Research accepting the colder & wetter option and flying the flag for us in Australia.

  3. Thanks MRers for getting involved — our Gongos GIves team has just convened on this too! A former boss of mine’s husband passed away from a rapidly progressing version of ALS – all things aside, it was the most challenging press release I ever had to scribe when he died…that is. until I found myself writing John Gongos’s final release. 🙁

  4. M&RR Employees Rise to the Challenge

    Marketing & Research Resources, Inc. (M&RR) was challenged by one of our clients, Sue Prakken from Gorton’s, to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. What is unique about our video is that 15 employees took the challenge at the same time using a wave format. M&RR will be contributing $100 for each of the 15 employees for a total of $1,500! Check it out.

  5. We challenged our Gongos employees to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and 30 brave contenders accepted! Gongos will be donating $25 for each of the 30 employees who participated for a total of $750! Feel free to check out our “wave” of buckets on our Facebook page.

    Let’s continue to help wipe out ALS! 🙂

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