Monday, 25 August 2014

Why I'm not doing the Ice Bucket Challenge

Subliminal marketing: text ICED55 £5 to 70070 to donate. Subliminal marketing: text ICED55 £5 to 70070 to donate.

It seems the Ice bucket challenge is getting more and more popular, I can’t get through my Facebook timeline without seeing loads of videos of cold wet people, some I know, some I don’t.

I’ve been nominated twice but I’m not going to do it. It’s not because I don’t want to throw water over myself and it’s not because I don’t think it’s for a good cause. I just don’t see how me throwing ice cold water over myself will make any difference.

When it started, sure it was a great idea. And calling out celebrities to take the challenge was a brilliant idea because it raised awareness, but somewhere along the way it became a fun and trendy thing to do. The same thing happened with the no make up selfie. Suddenly every person on the planet is taking a photo of themselves with no make up or filming themselves on their phone being drenched in water.

When celebrities do it, there’s a whole team around them, probably a press release is sent out and the mass media take it on board. The whole world gets to hear about it and as long as they’ve made it quite clear what the cause is that they are supporting, and a call to action to the viewers, their stunt will likely raise a substantial amount of donations for the cause.

But at what point does it just become a trend that people follow for their own vanity reasons.

“Look here’s my ice bucket challenge for cancer” I keep seeing pop up on my timeline. There’s no information along with the video to advise people how to donate or even why they should donate. Why are you throwing water over yourself? For cancer.

To my knowledge, the current Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise money for ALS. A neurological disease that has no cure. Had you heard of ALS before the ice bucket challenge? Probably not. In the UK the equivalent charity is MNDA. But the point of the challenge is to raise awareness of a disease that is relatively unheard of and struggles to get funding for research. It’s as much about putting the disease in the spotlight as it is about raising money.

Watch this video: it’s the best Ice bucket for ALS video I’ve seen, it’s also really emotional, but it explains the point of doing this challenge.

Celebrities have the means to help raise awareness and having them do this challenge is great. But no one knows me. The media won’t care if I throw water over myself. The only people who would see my video are the same people that nominated me to do it in the first place… And they already know about the challenge.

Note that I said they know about the challenge, and that it’s for charity. But do they know which charity, do they even know how their action is helping that charity?

If the rules are that you have 24 hours to do the challenge or you have to donate money to the charity does that mean all these people filming themselves are just avoiding making a donation? Where is the fundraising coming from? Is someone making a donation on their behalf in exchange for the icy drenching? When I was nominated, no one suggested that they would donate money on my behalf. That seems to be a rule that’s slipped through the net and doesn’t get mentioned anywhere in the videos or the accompanying Facebook post.

So instead of contributing to a, frankly, over saturated stream of videos, I’d much rather just donate the money to the charity.

I’ve been nominated twice, so I have made two donations by texting ICED55 (and the amount) to 70070.

If you want to donate and help further the research into this awful disease, then please donate as above or visit:
This just giving page to donate to MNDA in the UK, or visit:
The ALS Association website to donate to ALS in the US.

Why I'm not doing the Ice Bucket Challenge