The beauty of the Ice Bucket Challenge was its simplicity of message. Do this with this and raise money for this. Little call to action, highly social and visual and transcended every barrier possible; social, geographic, language, age, gender, race. We got it, and with it we raise an unprecedented amount for the battle for ALS.
It can never really be duplicated, but can you find something with the same guidelines that is still very natural, not forced, that can also on its own go viral and raise awareness and dollars. Enter #GiveThem20. Created by American Corporate Partners,’ people across the country have been filming themselves doing 20 push-ups, sit-ups or jumping jacks in honor of military veterans. Participants then issue a challenge for their friends to do the same just like the Ice Bucket Challenge. Simple idea.
This past week Jon Stewart joined the fray, doing 20 push-ups, popped to his feet and — while catching his breath — challenged the New York Mets to do the same. Always looking for a promotional edge in crowded Gotham, the Mets joined in, and on Saturday a dozen players gathered along the first base line for 20 jumping jacks in unison, then extended the challenge to TV host Jimmy Kimmel and the Washington Nationals. Back to media and to another team of up and comers looking for some national pop. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky also received Stewart’s challenge and passed it on as well.
Will it work? Because it is simple and has a wider effected base…members of the military and their families…the engagement could gain steam faster. However is it too simple, and is the engagement around the military a cause that the general public will tie that easily too? We should, but will we? While The Ice Bucket Challenge was simple, the visual was what got people engaged. This too has the ability to be a fun viral engagement, but will it have the shock value of what the IBC delivered? We shall see.
The one thing to be always remembered with such campaigns is viral can’t be forced. Maybe it can be purchased to some extent, but the pass-along factor can hardly be predicted even with the biggest of budgets. Certainly Pete Frates and Red Sox hoped The Ice Bucket Challenge would do what it did, but so do hundreds of others who start great campaigns only to see them fizzle out before their time.
Will #GiveThemTwenty make it? Simple, easy to execute and understand, no boundaries, worthwhile cause, health related, great visual potential, celebrity involvement to get things going and some hungry sports brands who get the cause moving it along gives it a chance. Let’s watch and share and see if it gets there.