The Ultimate Dividend . . . That Of Virality

  Remember the Budweiser frogs.


“Bud” “Weis” “Er”


That original commercial and the overall concept was pure genius for its time.  Looking back, it is one of the earliest forms of virality I can remember.


I mean, really, if someone brought up the talking frogs, would you really not be able to identify the company about which they were talking.


It’s like if I were to ask what company has the commercials that talk about “eating more chicken?”  That’s Chick-fil-A (for those up North, this may not have been as easy of a question)!


Virality is the hot topic these days.  Every company, especially new ones, wants to produce that campaign that goes viral.


One of the more recent viral sensations was Dollar Shave Club, which produced this hilarious video to introduce their product.  It got people talking.


Companies are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create this virality, but only a lucky few truly hit the home run and reap the greatest profits.


The ALS association was able to hit one out of the park without any of the costs.  They actually hit a grand slam!




Ok, I know many of you are probably tired of scrolling through your news feeds and seeing these challenges.  I saw 13 videos on Facebook within an hour timespan the other day… and that was light.


Despite the drain you may be enduring from having these videos get in the way of you stalking others’ lives, the virality, awareness and money that has been raised by the #icebucketchallenge is truly remarkable.




Many people are taking the challenge and many are also donating for the cause, but many may still not know exactly what the disease is.


I have always known of it as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and knew that it was a deadly disease.  Looking through the ALS website (, though, I learned more about this awful disease.


How I interpret the disease is like this, move your right hand.  What just happened was neurons (think of it as a laser beam) were shot from your brain to your right hand causing the hand to move.


Now do the hokey pokey and dance around.  Again, neurons have been sent from your brain to your body to perform the hokey pokey.


With ALS, though, what happens is that these neurons begin to die, so they are not able to tell your muscles what to do.


Now think about moving your right hand but don’t actually move it. That’s what it’s like for these individuals affected by the disease.  A disease that may not have been on everyone’s radar, like cancer or AIDS, but it is just as deadly if not more so.




Yeah, there are many terrible diseases and we should be aware of all of them, but that just isn’t always the case.


In this situation, an individual took it upon himself to try and bring awareness to a disease he knew about and wanted others to know about as well.


As fun as the videos are to watch of people getting doused with water (although some are really skimping using these small bowls), it does raise the question of whether this awareness actually causes action.


Recent reports show that the challenge not only caused people to become aware, but also very giving.


A recent USA Today story quoted that the ALS Association has raised nearly $42 million since July 29.  That is a big number, but the true extent of it is only seen when compared to what they did last year over this time period… $2.1 million.


Awareness is one thing, but action is the only thing that will help to create an actual change.  This challenge is doing that.


The ALS Association is currently supporting 98 research projects.  With a recent (before the ice bucket challenge) round of funding of $3.5 million, they are going to be supporting 21 new research projects for ALS.


The current profits from this awareness campaign have boundless upside and can really catapult research, which is the action that is really needed.




Who knows?


I mean, of the 740,000 new donors the association has seen, many of those will likely not be back donating to the association next year.


Is that really a bad thing?


In one sense:  yes.  It’s sad that we need to have a campaign like this to cause action… or cause people to donate to trying to cure such a deadly disease.


But in reality, this isn’t at all a bad thing.  Any time and any way people can be made aware of diseases that are truly deadly is a positive.  And if it causes action, it’s truly amazing.


Next year, the ALS Association may revert back to its trend of raising just $2.1 million over this time period.  But this year’s boost puts them nearly 20 years ahead of where they would have been without the ice bucket challenge.  (Take the near $42 million and divide it by the trend of $2.1 million).


Think about the number of lives that may be able to be saved during that time period, which wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have this so called “one hit wonder.”


I think people would take this one hit wonder any day.  I know I sure as hell would.