Yes, the famous Ice Bucket Challenge was great at bringing about awareness for the motor neuron disease known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. The viral fundraiser was a fun way to raise money for ALS research, and celebrities as diverse as Matt Lauer, Taylor Swift, Kathy Griffin, and Sarah Palin participated.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought awareness of the life threatening disease to the forefront, especially to people who had never heard of ALS. It made people more interested and curious about the topic and ALS became even more researched during the Ice Bucket Challenge. Donations were increased and awareness was definitely made.
No, the ice bucket challenge didn't help raise awareness for ALS. It was clear from watching the videos that most people doing the challenge had no idea what it was about, or that they were supposed to donate money for the cause. People did the challenge to be part of the crowd, without mentioning ALS or donating money at all.
The first few instances of the Ice Bucket Challenge may have raised awareness for ALS, but by the time it got to the point it did, it was more a fad. People forgot what the challenge was about, but focussed on who was doing it, and who was being challenged.
The person under the bucket became more important than why the bucket was over the head. The message was lost amongst the obsession with celebrity.
Obviously, it is is important that this highlight such an awful disease. However, what happens next year when the peak funding has been reached. Research funding is an ongoing need. Moreover, if you need to initiate a "bucket challenge" to raise funds, how much elaborate does the next fund raising need to be just to get the same amount of attention?
I am all for throwing a cold bucket of ice on your back for a good cause, and maybe it is just my personality, but I was more interested in the people who did the challenge than the cause itself. I think ALS awareness is really about spending taxpayer, corporate, and philanthropic dollars on researching cures for the disease so people who have it can regain their quality of life or live with it better, longer. If this led to an increased amount of donations (or volunteer effort from talented researchers) for the cause, I think it worked, but I didn't see evidence of that.