2015 Digital PR Awards: Wow Campaign

Winner: The ALS Association - ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a movement for ALS patients, their families and their supporters and it was a phenomenal success.

The challenge started in the summer of 2014 and went on to become the world’s largest global social media phenomenon, according to the ALS Association, as more than 17 million people uploaded their challenge videos to Facebook; these videos were watched by 440 million people in all.

The Ice Bucket Challenge—which dared folks to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, post a video of it on Facebook, tag friends to do the same and donate money to ALS—is now an annual event to raise awareness and funds to find treatments and a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 

And, it is the ultimate case study in virility. As people posted their videos, first, close family and friends were challenged. Then it spread to adjacent communities, new cities, and new countries.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge existed in the sporting world and had been used with other causes in the past, according to the ALS Association. It started with a professional golfer named Chris Kennedy, who challenged his sister, Jeanette Senerchia in Pelham, NY (Jeanette’s husband Anthony has ALS), according to the Association.

Through Facebook, one of Jeanette’s friends was connected to Pat Quinn in Yonkers, NY, who was connected to Pete Frates in Boston, according to the ALS Association; Pat and Pete are both young men battling the disease and their social networks blasted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge out of the Northeast to places across the country and even the globe. In all, 159 countries participated in the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge.

Honorable Mentions:

•             Edelman/Activision - Call of Duty: Hack in Black

•             Hunter Public Relations on behalf of Can Manufacturers Institute - Cans Get You Cooking Goes Mobile

•             JetBlue - Flying It Forward: A Chain Of Goodness With No End In Sight