Google Ad Words campaign lands Macmillan in further hot water on Twitter over #icebucketchallenge 'hijack' accusations
Macmillan Cancer Support has defended itself on Twitter following a barrage of complaints that it ‘stole’ the Ice Bucket Challenge idea away from UK motor neuron charity MND, accusations that have been heightened following its Google AdWords campaign.
Mostly associated with the motor neuron charity ALS Association in the US, those undergoing the challenge in the UK have found themselves torn between MND and Macmillan Cancer.
With many taking to Twitter to accuse Macmillan of ‘hijacking’ the challenge, the charity has retorted that its supporters were actually doing the Ice Bucket Challenge in July, before ALS supporters took up the bucket.
New further complaints have been made after Macmillan launched a paid-for campaign, including Google AdWords and Facebook ads.
— susan turner (@renruteus) August 23, 2014
@grxhxmg personally I think it's fair game - nobody owns a meme after all, more money gets raised, so why not? — Matt Collins (@charitychap) August 20, 2014
macmillan is a great charity but have paid google money from donations to hijack the ALS ice bucket challenge? pic.twitter.com/9IxocSVfDE
— Caitlin (@_Caketin) August 23, 2014
However, having bought the term ‘ice bucket challenge’ in Google AdWords, those searching for either ‘ALS ice bucket challenge’ or ‘MND ice bucket challenge’ will see an ad suggesting that visitors “Take the challenge with friends & raise funds for Macmillan” at the top of the page, prior to those of the charities suggested.
When confronted on this, Macmillan said that Google defaulted to its ad because ALS and MND had not bought ads.
The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.
Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.Sign up
Macmillan has also used Twitter to provide the details for donors to text donations to the MND Association, following complaints that people didn’t know the correct number to use.
To donate to MNDA Text ICED55 followed by an amount (such as £5) to 70070. To Donate £3 to Macmillan text ICE to 70550 — Macmillan Cancer (@macmillancancer) August 25, 2014
The charity has also stated that it was not aiming to divert proceeds to itself, having said that donating to any charity was a positive step.