Every time you turn on the internet, someone’s dumping a bucket of cold H2O over their heads. It’s the the ALS ice bucket challenge and it’s for a good cause so go right ahead. A million times yes. As of Sunday, the challenge has raised $70.2 million.
Lots of ordinary folk are doing it. Of course, celebrities are getting in on the action. But surprisingly, a ton of CEOs are also doing it. From Mark Zuckerberg to Jeff Bezos, top executives from some big companies are getting in on the viral philanthropy action. This isn’t normal. So what gives?
Mitzi Emrich, chief social strategist at MWW suggests to The Washington Post that part of it is the charity that’s being supported. The money that’s being donated (and certainly, there’s cash coming from these execs to reach such donation heights) is going to an organization that’s reputable and, according to Emrich, one they probably support through other programs.
“Its participatory nature also lets them show off their personality, and appeals to their competitive nature and pride in showing off who they know,” writes WaPo.
That last part about showing off personality is probably the main reason why they’re doing the actual challenge. Wealthy business leaders give tons of money to charity every year. In some cases, we even see them on a charity ball red carpet, dressed in their finest, posing with a spouse.
But this is a fun way to show a softer, human side. Everyone looks silly getting a bucket of ice water dumped on their head. (Case in point.) You laugh, onlookers laugh, it’s just fun and very funny. At the same time, this isn’t controversial. At the moment, nothing takes the edge off of a chilly reputation quite like the challenge. Even Conde Nast’s Anna Wintour did it. We know how much Vogue likes hashtags these days, so double bonus.
Image: Still of Jeff Bezos taking the ice bucket challenge. He challenged William Shatner, Patrick Stewart and George Takei