Mike Rowe Sets the Record Straight About the Ice Bucket Challenge

comments and concerns

A lot of celebrities have been participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But Mike Rowe has a different take on the matter.

Sep 3, 2014 | 11:57 AM

When Mike Rowe was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a lot of his fans wondered why he didn't immediately jump on board. So the mikeroweWORKS Foundation creator took to Facebook to express his views about the trending charity campaign that's been soaking celebs and everyday folk alike. And when the response was mixed, he shared another post to further explain his point. 

"I’ve been thinking about an interesting phenomena called 'moral licensing,'" Mike explained. "Moral licensing basically says that by doing something good or 'moral' we often give ourselves subconscious permission to act 'immorally' in the future. A reward, so to speak, for behaving in a responsible or virtuous manner."

He went on to explain how "moral licensing" could impact those who participated in the ALS challenge, saying: "The effect of moral licensing on charitable giving is well-documented, especially among the group you mention—those individuals who don’t typically contribute to charity. Among that group, individuals who took The Ice Bucket Challenge are now exponentially LESS likely to donate to other causes."

We think this is a pretty reasonable cause for concern—and it stands to reason. If you donate $10 to an ALS charity, you might feel as if your charitable giving has been fulfilled. Whereas if you donate to a charity that's closer to your heart, you may be more likely to donate again in the future.

But Mike ultimately wants people to know that not participating in the ALS challenge doesn't mean that you don't support the cause, or that you've been "brainwashed" by people like him:

"…just because many of the people here share my reservations, doesn’t mean they’ve been 'bamboozled.' Maybe they just agree that campaigns like this come with some unintended consequences? Furthermore, if 'a marketer like me' is not allowed to question the underlying tactics of a campaign that solicits me directly, whom do you suggest I empower to speak freely on the matter?"

Do you agree with Mike? Let us know in the comments below.

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