A lesson from the #IceBucketChallenge

Hello everyone! My name is Sofia and I am the 2014-2015 Marketing Club President. I’m extremely excited to meet all of you and start a great semester with Splash at Nickerson field. Erin, our Vice President, and I have been busy planning a great semester to help you all learn more about Marketing, networking, job opportunities, resume building and much more! I also had the opportunity to live and work in Boston this summer as a corporate marketing intern in the Seaport District as well as spend as much time outdoors, at the beach, and in the sun as possible. I hope your summer has treated you well and you take these last few weeks to relax and re-energize for the Fall semester.

Recently, I have seen friends and family take to social media in response to Pete Frates’ Ice Bucket Challenge, as I bet you all have as well. I’ve enjoyed seeing creative takes on the challenge, watching Bruins players and their families take part, in addition to watching 86 year old Ethel Kennedy dump an ice bucket over her own head and nominate President Obama for the challenge. The #IceBucketChallenge was started to raise awareness about ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease but it didn’t take long before people started questioning whether or not the #IceBucketChallenge was actually helping the efforts in finding a cure for the disease. Encouragements to donate in addition to taking part in the #IceBucketChallenge were heard; according to the ALS Association’s national president, Barbara Newhouse donations during a 10 day period reached $160,000, compared to $14,480 during the same period last year.


Six years ago, eight months after my grandfather was diagnosed with ALS, he passed away two days before his eightieth birthday. At 15 years old, I was in denial that my grandfather was dying. I cannot remember if I knew ALS was a terminal disease; that those diagnosed typically have two to five years to live their life in a deteriorating state. What I do remember vividly, before he lost the ability to walk, he would walk around the house in a circle. Family room to kitchen, kitchen to dining room, dining room to living room, living room to foyer, foyer to family room—in hopes that working his muscles would allow him to be able to walk, play with his grandchildren, and garden just a little bit longer. In high school, I studied in the dining room, a space we only used for family gatherings. One day, in his daily circle around the house, he entered the dining room and I looked up from my books and he apologized from interrupting my studies by simply turning back into the kitchen—ending his circle around the house. I will never forget the guilt I felt, letting him value my education more then his daily walk.


At 15, I had no knowledge of ALS until my grandfather was diagnosed. People didn’t talk about it. Pete Frates’ #IceBucketChallenge created a viral trend that unexpectedly led to an ingenious campaign to raise awareness for ALS and encourage those to donate to the cause. There are lessons that can be taken away from this from a marketing standpoint—a simple act that unifies a large group of people towards a common goal is one of the best strategies. The #IceBucketChallenge creates a unifying experience which is the root of a successful campaign.

For more information about ALS please visit: http://www.alsa.org
You can visit The Pete Frates Fund here: http://www.petefrates.com

Photo source: http://www.aol.com/article/2014/08/08/soaked-for-charity-ice-bucket-challenges-get-cool/20944020/

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