Sell the sizzle, not the steak

  • Neha Verma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2014 10:06 IST

A mass hysteria with western roots has spread to the entire world like an epidemic, and many Asian countries with ape-the-West zeal are soaking in the frenzy. Aren't we all bored of our overloaded Facebook news feed about this Ice Bucket Challenge hoopla by now? Clearly, we must be.

Isn't every public page we have subscribed to running the IBC videos every two minutes? Yes, crazily. This mass seduction is the product of the overactive social media, the virtual world with flourishing communities and groups that invite and provoke people to take this challenge head-on and pass on the bug to the others yearning for attention. The "challenged" can then be filmed in skimpy clothes, carrying a bucket full of ice-cold water, bragging about their keenness for charity, and then woosh-wossh, have their moment of fame when the camera flashes on them. Challenge over.

Wait a minute. Did we talk about the charity involved? Did we digress from the actual motive of the challenge? Is the job done once the video is uploaded? Did anyone write a generous charity cheque actually? Will that be enough? It's human nature to do the easiest, the most convenient, doable thing in the name of a difficult mission.

The majority of the participants accepted the dare as a fun thing, without donating to the cause in real. Considering the net worth, social standing and benevolence of all those Page-3 personalities who took the challenge, the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) charity could have created liquid gold without playing any cool trick. It could have just asked.

What about the people who prefer to take a quiet dip in a nearby pool and donate in kind to the needy. Isn't their service more real? Today's information age requires public personalities to connect with fans, whichever way. Uploading the videos of generosity connects them to admirers quicker. It's not about networking or public relations, but about making hay while the sun shines.

They sell as long as they are seen.

But how did we let the madness overwhelm us? How could we camouflage our ignorance to appear stylish! Are we more chic after the challenge? Facebook and Youtube reported a record number of video uploads and views, and for the ALS Association, proceeds poured in from above. It can't count on heavens to keep giving, because ALS isn't likely to be next year's hot celebrity cause.

also read

Councillor’s report card: Work can wait for controversy’s child Satish Kainth
Show comments