The Ice Bucket Challenge Psychology – What Makes It so Irresistible ?


We have all heard of the famous “Ice Bucket Challenge” and most of us have already accepted it, done it, and nominated others to do it.

It is an act of awakening the awareness for the Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a metaphor to awaken and become conscious of the seriousness of this disease.

Basically what you do is donate money and film yourself getting showered by a bucket filled with Cold Water and Ice. It represents your awakening and contributing to the research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

At the end of the video you nominate 3 other individuals who need to donate and do the Ice Bucket Shower nominating other 3 and so on.

It is really a neat marketing for the right cause. However, as we humans have a tendency to do, we slowly lose the meaning behind things and use them for selfish, ego serving reasons.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral and everybody do it no matter if they donate, have fun or just like to feel validated.

We will get behind the psychology of why The Ice Bucket Challenge has become so viral and irresistible. Maybe other donating funds will use the same psychology behind this marketing to achieve success in the right causes. There are actually 5 main reasons.

1. The Element of Surprise

Jonah BergerWhen we see videos of people doing the challenge we see the excitement coming from the surprising sensation of cold water touching the skin.

It is like seeing extreme videos and having a desire to do extreme sports only doing this is very easy.

It’s like a cheat for the adrenaline rush.

“It’s funny, but it’s also surprising, and you have an emotional tie to the cause,” – says Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who studies the science behind viral content.

2. The Pulsing Arteries

There is also a science behind sharing content and increased heart rate. Berger had one group of students jog in place for 60 seconds before reading an article online, and found that they were twice more likely to send it to someone than students who didn’t move at all.

The implication, Berger said in the study, was that even physical signs of arousal and soaring emotions – the increased heart rate and blood flow – can make someone more apt to share.

3. The Social Validation

Getting nominated means you matter to someone enough to choose you. It makes you look popular and that really serves your reputation. So by default, making an “Ice Bucket Challenge” video means you’ve been nominated by other popular individual.

“People share things that make them look good, that make them look smart and in the know,” Berger says. “It’s easy to see other people doing this, whereas with most social causes donations are private.”

4. The Celebrity Lifestyle

Seeing celebrities do it is like adding a fuel to the fire. Their social accounts are marketing POWER TOOLS and uploading a video of them doing something means the whole world will see it, their fans particularly.

What celebrities do is by default “right” for most if not all of their fans. Adding the cause behind it gives that desire to copy them a heightened push. The challenge is easy, donations anonymous, so it means we can all do it.

5. The “Good” Cause

We all want to be of help. We all want to benefit humanity in some way. A lot of us are not aware of this but the desire still gives a push from time to time. The IBC has this cause in its essence.

However, despite satisfying the need to be of benefit for humanity we use the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to satisfy the approval our ego seeks. That’s why a lot of us are making the Ice Bucket Challenge but not donating a single penny for the cause. Nobody knows if we donate or not but everybody knows we participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge so we are beneficial in the eyes of others. That’s all the ego needs.

We need to wake up, become aware of the Lou Gehrig’s disease, yes, however, what we need more is to wake up and become aware of who we are. Become aware of what we stand for and what we will do about it. Become aware of what we really value at the end of the day. That’s what the “Ice Bucket Challenge” should represent.

Mind Points

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