What marketers can learn from this $100 Million Dollar human insight.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

As the Ice Bucket challenge officially jumps the shark, we thought it was high time we commented on this amazing phenomenon.

Admittedly, we’ve been wrestling with mixed feelings: we feel guilty for not participating but irritated for being asked to (and given only 24 hours?!).  We’re entertained by the videos but weary with the seemly never-ending supply.  And impressed that this has taken off but also perplexed as to why.

Plenty has been written on why so many people have participated in this particular campaign to the tune of over $100 million.  In basic terms we believe it’s because:

  • It’s easy to pull off
  • It allows us to make a difference
  • Celebrities have jumped on board so we take notice

Here’s the thing…if it stopped there, why we’d all just write a cheque and move on.  But it’s much more than that.  Once you peel the onion further what you’ll see is that it taps into an insight on human behavior, that at the centre of this viral tsunami is a touch of narcissism.  It gives us a chance to seize centre stage and show the world how Fun!  Adventurous! Altruistic! we are.  The Queen of Narcissists, Kim Kardashian took the challenge (from what I can tell it was just a half-bucket challenge), and snapped a selfie while doing it, natch.

At the end of the day the ALS Society has raised buckets of money and awareness…and it’s a good thing.

Marketers, we and our customers all have a shade of narcissism inside us.  Do you have the insights that can unlock your customer enough to bring out the ice water?