Like all good viral hits, the ALS awareness campaign – dubbed the “Ice Bucket Challenge” – has sparked brand attention. The challenge encourages users to record a video of them dumping ice water over their head to bring attention to the condition of ALS and encourage donations. It’s similar to familiar “walk for a cure” events, but online and colder.
A brand joining in on the craze has to be careful in its approach. Attempts to support the cause could be viewed as using a classless attempt to turn a profit. Despite the risks, a few brands have taken on the ice bucket challenge.
Each of these 4 companies approached the viral video phenomenon in a different way, but all remained on brand.
Samsung saw an opportunity in the Ice Bucket Challenge to promote a feature of its new Galaxy S5. Last Friday the electronic manufacturer sent out a tweet from its U.K. account that featured a 15-second video spot centered around the ALS challenge.
In the spot, a Samsung Galaxy S5 smart phone “speaks” in a British-woman’s voice. The voice identifies itself as the Galaxy S5, takes the ice bucket challenge—and then nominates the iPhone, HTC, and Nokia Lumia phone to do the same. Samsung has been promoting the fact that the Galaxy S5 is waterproof – a convenient reason for the brand to do an ice water challenge.
Fast food giant McDonald’s was nominated by Coca-Cola’s senior vice-president Wendy Clark. To answer the call, the brand sent its spokesperson Ronald McDonald to perform the stunt. Instead of challenging other brands to jump in, Ronald encouraged all redheads to answer the call.
Despite his great enthusiasm, Ronald fails to mention any donation to ALS research, which probably would have been good to include in the video. A McDonald’s spokesperson later said that McDonald’s pledged $5,000 to the cause. Regardless, Ronald soon found his way across the globe to help CEO of McDonald’s Philippines participate in the ice bucket challenge. The executive pledged to match his donation to ALS research with a donation to the Ronald McDonald House charity.
Pillsbury recruited its adorable mascot – the Dough Boy – to attempt the ice bucket challenge. The 15-second spot is short and sweet, and big on cuteness. The mascot – as is his usual – stays pretty quiet with only a whimper from the cold. At the end there’s a bit of humor when we all see what happens when dough gets wet.
Pillsbury’s spot proves that simple can be better. It’s certainly the cutest moment from brands so far when the Dough Boy realizes his feet are sticking to the icy table. Whether or not the spot truly brings awareness to the ALS cause, Pillsbury did make a self-titled “dough-nation” to the ALS Association.
4. Old Spice
Men’s deodorant brand Old Spice is at it again with its character “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like.” The perpetually shirtless Old Spice spokesperson seems like the perfect candidate for a wet water challenge. As the spot progresses, The Man discovers his “perfectly toned man muscles” make him immune to cold water. Despite multiple attempts, he never gets wet. To make up for his shortcomings, The Man pledges to donate $1,000 to the cause.
Old Spice doesn’t disappoint with the humor in the challenge, which is something the brand has become known for. The entertainment factor— and that the spot mentions a donation— make it one of the more impressive challenges from brands.