Well, I’m sure you’re all aware of the two big viral trends of this summer: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Ebola.
Let me say at the outset I think it’s wonderful that the Internet can be used for good and porn, and it’s certainly been great fun seeing celebrities challenge each other to have ice cubes poured on their heads, although I’m not really sure what the challenge is. I mean, pretty much anyone can have ice cubes dumped on their head. It’s not like it takes any special talent.
To prove that point, Justin Bieber has done it twice.
I’m not sure how this whole thing works, though. Am I supposed to watch, say, Lady GaGa get iced and be inspired to make a donation? I’ll tell you what would inspire me to donate: if Bieber did the challenge but the bucket just had a big single block of ice in it.
Everybody is getting into the act. Even Toronto Mayor Rob Ford did it, although it’s unclear whether he was taking the challenge or just trying to sober up. The Foo Fighters did a fully produced video take-off on the prom scene from Carrie, which made me wonder if ALS wouldn’t have been better served if they had just donated the money they spent to make the video.
While I get that this whole thing is intended to raise awareness of ALS and money for research, I don’t get what the ice on the head has to do with the disease. You could be getting iced for any disease! In fact, in various places, the ice bucket challenge has been used for cancer and other conditions.
The marketer in me wants a stronger brand tie-in. When a celebrity takes the challenge, it should immediately say “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” to anyone watching. For instance, since ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, why aren’t celebrities hitting each other with baseball bats?
At the moment, as I’m sitting here writing this, I’m nice and dry, because not a single celebrity has challenged me to participate. But if someone did, say Julianne Hough, I wouldn’t wimp out like President Obama. I mean here’s Ethel Kennedy* for Pete’s sake, who’s, like 119 years old, getting iced and challenging our Commander-in-Chief, and the Leader of the Free World says, “Nah, here’s a hundred bucks.”
What’s that all about, Mr. President? You can bet if Vladimir Putin got challenged, he’d have his shirt off in a minute, get doused, and then challenge a former Soviet republic.
It’s all for a good cause, though, and it really is fascinating to see stuff like this spread. But there’s one person I can’t help feel sorry for: Jerry Lewis.
Every Labor Day, the poor guy would be on TV for 24 hours raising funds for muscular dystrophy. He’d have to get excited when all these union guys came on stage with big checks (the checks were physically large, not the amount), and he’d introduce third rate magicians and singers nobody had ever heard of, and he’d parade out that year’s MD poster child while singing “Look at us we’re walking…”, and when we woke up the next morning, his bowtie would be undone, and he’d be sweating and exhausted, and he’d keep running over to the tally board and enthusiastically yell, “Another $100,000!”
All those years, all he had to do was was dump ice on his head, challenge Dean Martin, and go to sleep. Then Dean would challenge Frank, and Frank would challenge JFK (who wouldn’t wimp out like Obama), and so forth. Sooner or later, it would have ended up with Ethel again.
In those days, you see, we had real stars, not the likes of Jack Black. We had celebrities who really knew what to do with a bucket of ice!
I mean, did anyone really donate money to ALS because Topher Grace got ice dumped on his head?
See you soon.
*The picture next to that paragraph is of Julianne, not Ethel.