If you want to raise visibility or promote a brand these days, often you’ve got to think out of the box and do something memorable, even chilling.

That’s exactly what’s been happening with the ALS Foundation this summer. The challenge is simple – donate $100 to the ALS Foundation or pour a bucket of icy water over your head and donate $10…and to give it that extra oomph for social media, videotape it. The result? A viral grassroots marketing campaign that is showing no signs of letting up.

Turns out, the cool challenge was inspired by former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates in Beverly, Massachusetts who has been living with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) since 2012. ALS is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease that damages nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, rendering the sufferer immobile.  It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the former New York Yankee first baseman who died from the disease in 1941.

Frates posted a video of himself on Facebook, challenging three other friends to pour a chilly bucket of water on their heads. Friends who chose not to take the challenge were asked to make a donation to the ALS Foundation.

It has caught on like wildfire. Celebs, politicians, notables and everyday folks – from Oprah Winfrey,  Bill Gates and Taylor Swift to Chris Christie, Corey Booker and Justin Beiber – have posted their videos taking the challenge. Some are funny, some are serious and heartwarming. There are individual videos and group videos. Over the past few weeks the foundation has seen an increase in donations to more than $13 million compared to $1.7 million during the same time last year. It will use the money to help scientists search for a cure.

According to Forbes, the ice bucket craze was mentioned 2.2 million times on Twitter between June 1 and August 13, while video posts on Facebook have topped 1.2 million. Comments, posts and likes for the Ice Bucket Challenge have reached over 15 million…and most importantly, spiked awareness about a disease with no known cure that many knew little about.

Visual. Fun. Social. Interactive…all for a good cause – It’s the perfect recipe to make a big PR splash. Let us know if you need help making a splash of your own!

By Kuae Kelch Mattox