Prominent financial services executives are dousing themselves with buckets of ice water to raise awareness and money for a charity.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, which draws attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, requires participants to dumping ice water over their heads on camera and post the videos on social media sites like Facebook. Once they publish their video clips, participants call out others to do the same thing, make a donation to the ALS Association, or both. The campaign, which began on July 29, has been a social media sensation with participation from pop stars to politicians.
In recent days, financial services executives have been stepping up to the challenge, including Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bancorp; Peter Aceto, chief executive of Tangerine (formerly ING Direct Canada); Brett King, founder and chief executive of Moven; and Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand and publisher of the Digital Banking Report.
The playful videos not only show a lighter side of financial executives who are looking to draw attention to a good cause. They also may have subtle benefits for banks' reputations. CEOs who are active on social media help build trust in their companies' brands, a recent study found.
"I'm ready to take my licking. Go for it. Knock me out," said Davis in his Ice Bucket Challenge video. He took the challenge wearing a suit and standing in front of a large U.S. Bank logo.
The Minnesota bank said Davis first and foremost wanted to support an important cause. The bank also said it has received positive feedback to the video, which has been promoted through U.S. Bank's social media channels.
Former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who has ALS, inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge with a video he posted on Facebook. Lou Gehrig's disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. People with the disease lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which can lead to paralysis and death within two to five years of being diagnosed, according to the ALS Association.
Industry members like Davis are joining high-profile business execs like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Bill Gates and pop stars like Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift, who have also taken the challenge and helped raise money for an incurable disease that has no cure.
On Aug. 17, the ALS Association announced it has received $13.3 million in donations since the campaign's start. That is significantly more than the association raised during the same period of last year: $1.7 million.