By: Brianna E. Jordan VP of Member Services

Sept. 8, 2014


It’s a familiar scene: your newsfeed flooded with posts on the Ice Bucket Challenge. This past summer we have seen our friends, family, and even celebrities accepting this challenge. However, do many of us really know the history behind the viral videos? 


It all started with a young man named Pete Frates. He was a student, a Boston College baseball player, a newlywed and a man unknowingly living with deadly disease. At the age of 27, Pete was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

The news came out of left field. He was a young husband with his whole life ahead of him. He needed love and support from family and friends to get through this life altering diagnosis.

His team showed support in a way he'd never experienced by participating the ALS ice bucket challenge. Their purpose to raise money and awareness for those living with the disease.

By pouring freezing water on your body, the challenges gives you a feel of what people with the disease feel on a daily basis. If someone were nominated and decided to take the challenge, they would have to donate $10 to the charity. If they decided to skip the cold water, they would instead donate $100.

To some, it may seem people are only doing it to be a part of the new trend on social media or it is a way to get out of donating $100. However, even if this may be true, they are helping to raise awareness and are encouraging people to donate which has benefitted the charity extremely.

With the ice bucket challenge not only were we seeing our friends and family participate, but we started to see our favorite celebrities take part in it as well. This has especially been amazing because these celebrities are setting an example for the thousands of loyal fans that are watching their every move.


However, there has been negative light on the challenge as well. There have been many people who do not agree with the challenge due to the fact that the challenge wastes clean, useable water. This was a good point to bring up, which is why many people began to think of how they could fix the situation (this is where PR work comes into play). People are now stating where they got their water in their videos: the lake, ocean, pool, etc. People are also skipping showers so they can replace the water from their usual shower, for the challenge. This is an example of a great PR move to mend some of the negative light on the ice bucket challenge.

It's hard to dispute; the ice bucket challenge has revolutionized the way we raise awareness for a cause. According to Public Relations Tactics' Greg Beaubien, the charity raised $15.6 million in July and August. The great thing about this challenge is the fact that it may not have originated as a planned PR campaign, but it worked out in the organizations benefit, and it didn’t cost them a dime. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for the challenge.

By posting these videos on social media, not only was it fun for people to participate in but it was extremely successful!