By now, everyone in America has at least heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a feat that is phenomenal in itself. Your social media feed was barraged with posts, videos and comments of people filling buckets of iced water and dumping it on their head. The spreadability of this concept was ingenious, simple and reproducible. I am not referring to the participating in the challenge, but the formula created to inform people.
Pete Frates, the creator of the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness, created a monster. The meat of this formula lies in stirring a response from the viewer. The act of pouring cold water onto your body stimulates a response from the audience. People react with shivers down their spine from knowing what sudden cold water feels like. We all have had that experience in the shower. Without that, there is no reason to watch the video or even want to imitate the act. Being challenged by someone else also evokes competition in the audience. The action also of donating also evokes the part of the audience that wants to help someone or something.
Social Media, the user-generated content aggregator, is driving force for the challenge. If it were not easy, no one would do it. You have a movie production company, marketing team and distributor in your pocket.
The Formula broken down: Promote an action that is practically free, stimulates emotional response, is replicate-able and can be shared in a visual matter.