August 26, 2014 By Darling Jimenez

Learn From the Marketing Brilliance of the ALS Bucket Challenge


It’s everywhere, dominating your Facebook news feed and your TV screen. You cannot get away from it because from George Bush to Lady Gaga, everybody is doing it. The ALS bucket challenge has managed to leverage social media to raise awareness and massive donations ($80 Million as of yesterday). But why has the ALS Bucket challenge been so successful?


If you are familiar with Tony Robins, you have also probably heard his theory on the 6 human needs. According to Robbins all of our actions are motivated by the following 6 human needs: certainty, uncertainty/variety/excitement, significance, love/connection, growth, and contribution.

The ICE bucket challenge managed in one swoop to fulfill 4 of these needs that we are constantly seeking to fulfill.

  1. Love & connection: it is hard to deny that humans require love and connection with others. This challenged open the window of opportunity for connecting with your friends, whether far or close, you could challenge your friends to join the challenge.
  2. Uncertainty/excitement – Let’s face it, our day to day lives can sometimes be very boring, filled with routines and more of the same old. The challenge represented a deviation from normal life and moved into something more exciting. The anticipation of the bucket of ice water falling was enough to get people motivated by the exciting uncertainty.
  3. Significance – we all want to feel significant. We want to fill like our presence matters and that we are making a difference in other people’s life. For those that were challenged to complete the challenge, they were glad to see that their friends and family had chosen to acknowledge them and CHOOSE them to participate in the challenge. They were chosen, they were special.
  4. Contribution – people generally feel good when they have done something to help others. Most people have a strong desire to better the world in some way and this served as a perfect opportunity. The cost of extending your help was neither time consuming nor very expensive, making it a perfect opportunity for people to get the feel-good feeling of helping others without too high of a cost to the self.


So why is the ALS Challenge a brilliant marketing strategy: because it caters to factors that motivate people to take action base on basic human needs while using social media as a vehicle.

TAKEAWAY: Whether you agree or not, the fact remains that your clients and customers are humans and as it turns out they do have dreams, hopes, fears and yes, NEEDS! In order to provide your customers with the best service and ultimately improve their business you need to know more about not just the business but the individuals that form the organization.

Formulate a profile highlighting and detailing what these needs might be for some of your clients and you will definitely be more successful at communicating with them and driving a strategy that caters to them. Don’t forget at the core of marketing, beyond the strategies, technical components and services there are PEOPLE and understanding their motivations are pivotal to your success.

Don’t know what a buyer persona is? Checkout this blog post from our partners at HubSpot.

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About Author

Darling Jimenez

Darling Jimenez is a passionate graphic and web designer committed to delivering on time products that can generate leads and provide a friendly user experience. With more than 5 years of experience, she loves to stay on top of the latest design and marketing trends.

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