The multimodal video meme of the ice-bucket challenge or what could be perceived as a viral gimmicky prank were it not for its embeddedness in a cause-related message structure raises a ‘bucketful’ of questions for media and cultural studies. This paper focuses narrowly on unearthing who speaks in this message and what is ultimately communicated. By unpeeling the multiple layers of message structuration with view to discerning the formal structure of the concerned multimodal message, the offered analysis proceeds with an exploration of the function of the message in the context of a cultural predicament where networking and connectivity constitute overarching cultural values. The argumentative thrust that deploys against the background of the assumption that the ice-bucket challenge constitutes a meme as minimal unit of cultural reproduction that functions on both ontic and ontological levels, is intent on demonstrating that the enunciator of this unit is the meme itself that summons hosts or enunciatees to legitimate the pre-reflexive memetic mode of cultural reproduction and propagation as overarching mode of communication.
Keywords: memetics, video meme, cultural reproduction, multimodal communication, virality, ontology.