Marketers love it when a campaign goes viral. And it’s even better if it’s for a good cause, right? While there are few who would question that reasoning, Vox does. The site takes a look at statistics showing nearly 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year and a 2013 campaign raised $54 million to find a cure. But “celebrities and the entertainment value” of the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS drove $23 million in donations for a disease that kills between 5,000 and 6,000 people in the U.S. each year.
Actually, Vox’s #IceBucketChallenge figures on the Aug. 20 infographic, which IFLScience.com reports on Aug. 27 has gone viral itself, are out of date. This just in from the ALS Association on Aug. 27: “Ice Bucket Donations Continue to Rise: $94.3 Million Since July 29.”
So Vox argues that viral memes shouldn’t dictate charitable giving. IFLScience.com states, “If we spent as much on fighting disease as we do on bottled water—to pick just one example—we’d have beaten most of these long ago.”
Do these arguments rely on false equivalency?
So if one fundraising campaign is much more successful than another, is the marketing killing Americans by omission? What morality should play into which causes get the most marketing attention?
Is there any point in telling Americans what they should do?
So what’s the right thing to do? How much does doing “the right thing” play into viral marketing?
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