Alex McRae

Ice, ice, baby

Credible sources at the CIA, the FBI, the CDC and the National Enquirer agree that only 71 people on Earth have not been exposed.

If you are one of them, hide. The biggest, baddest viral video ever to stalk mankind is still alive, well and spreading on every piece of social media yet invented.

It’s called the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was created to raise money for ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Sources disagree on who came up with the idea, but one thing is clear … it works. I’m a Facebook user, and I can’t remember the last time I got through a day without at least one Facebook buddy posting a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water (cubes included) on their head.

What a stunt. And it’s not just bad for your hairdo. If you don’t train with the Siberian swim team, it’s scary.

And millions have done it.

Including me.

But not in public. I long ago reached my lifetime quota for public humiliation. Soaking myself on video for all the world to see was not an option. So I did my challenge behind closed doors.

Or to be accurate, a single door. The one to my bathroom.

I got in the shower and soaped and rinsed as usual in blessedly warm water. When I was clean enough, I turned the hot water off, twisted the cold water knob to “full blast” and stood statue still as icy water poured down upon my head and shoulders and assorted other parts.

I lasted about four seconds. Maybe five.

I barely squealed, but feel sure my icing was as painful as those suffered by others, including super athlete Bo Jackson, who needed a forklift to hoist the container of ice water dumped on his War Eagle-y head. Bo knows it was cold.

Public ice water baptisms seem like a strange way to raise money, but bank balances don’t lie. Prior to icing themselves down, dunk-ees are supposed to make a donation to fight ALS and challenge others to do the same.

At last report, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $50 million. The only people raising more money are politicians, and they promise “favors” in return for campaign donations. Cold and hot cash gladly accepted.

People raise money every day for good causes, but rarely with so much success. Why was this one different? What made the Ice Bucket Challenge the champion of the fundraising sweepstakes?

Experts say it’s not hard to figure out.

Marketing, communications and business consultant Joe Favorito says the setup is foolproof. Writing in joefavorito.com, he says the challenge worked for three reasons:

• It’s cheap.

• it’s simple.

• It’s easy to understand.

Favorito says asking people to perform a simple task, especially in times of political and social complexity, is always a winner.

Employees at Inc.com took the challenge themselves. Their reasons why the Ice Bucket Challenge worked?

• The rules are simple.

• Anyone can participate.

• It can be done in a short time.

Everyone agrees that videos of screaming goose-pimpled people made the challenge perfect for social media sharing.

But back to the point. If you want people to remember your message, keep it short and sweet. Lincoln’s Gettysburg address is considered the greatest speech ever given. It contains only 272 words.

Another age-old piece of advice is even briefer. When asked to name the most important of the laws and commandments, Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor.”

That’s a challenge everyone should accept. And imagine the results if we all did.

(Send your email comments to: alexmmcrae@gmail.com )



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