The Oatmeal’s Kickstarter Marketing Campaign

This week, we bear witness to a Kickstarter marketing stunt that not only raised more than $3 million in 30 days but also helped to save a life.

Perhaps you’ve heard of digital comic book superpower, The Oatmeal, and its creator Matthew Inman? With almost four million followers on Facebook alone, his following have loyally supported him when faced with bonkers demands (you must read this magnificent romp to $20,000 if you haven’t come across it before), launching games to market and yesterday, adopting a bear.

Inman launched a Kickstarter campaign in October to fund a new board game, Bears vs. Babies. Hoping to amount $10,000, he told the crowd it’s “a card game where you build handsome, incredible monsters, who go to war with horrible, awful babies.”

He knew it was going to be risky:

The biggest risk is really just getting cocky. We know this won’t be easy, and we know how hard we’re going to have to work to get you your game in the timeframe we promised it.

Just like last time, we’re going to keep things basic. We’re not going to offer t-shirts, or posters, or anything else that will get in the way of us delivering the game to you as promised. We’re keeping it as simple as possible: support our project and in return we’ll send you the playable game…

The Kickstarter campaign was an instant runaway success:

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With the money locked-in, Inman released ‘stretch goals’ to unlock new features of the game, such as upgrading the product to 112 cards, NSFW condoms and fur-covered boxes. All the backers had to do was contribute with themed photos, and they obliged.

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The Oatmeal was swamped with babies dressed as bears, bearded babies, seven-foot baby monsters and even photos of Pomeranians in incredible underpants.

On 16th November, the final stretch goal was unlocked. Surely, this wildly successful campaign had nowhere else to go? Bears vs Babies was almost certainly going to market in June 2017, and launch hype was at fever pitch. Then this happened:

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“This is a four-year-old, female American Black Bear. She was rescued from the captivity of a cub petting facility in Colorado, and is now being moved to her furrever home in Florida at Forest Animal Rescue. At her new home, she is getting top medical care and a spacious new habitat to roam.”

Yesterday, on 17th November, he posted this to Facebook:

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Almost 12,500 backers voted.

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See the video, here. Meanwhile, on Kickstarter we have lift off!:

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The success of the Bears Vs Babies Kickstarter campaign is far reaching, and super brilliant!:

  • Inman got more than 85,500 people to convert.
  • It exceeded its crowd-funding goal by 29,900%.
  • Those backers had gone on to create user-generated content.
  • 12,000 backers voted to name the bear.
  • Thousands of fans left comments on The Oatmeal’s social media pages, engaging with the campaign, sharing it far and wide.
  • Ignoring capitalist KPIs for a moment, Oatmeal the bear finally has a name! And hundreds of thousands of people know the good work of the Forest Animal Rescue sanctuary!

Inman’s campaign had everything: an achievable, modest goal, an enticing concept and a strategy that kept on giving. When the backers exceeded the total, The Oatmeal gave them something fun to get excited about. When they smashed those goals, he gave them a cause to care about.

BrandContent’s social and video producer, Adam Russell thinks Kickstarter projects are a great community-boosting vehicle for brands: “I am a massive Kickstarter fan, it always surprises me how strong the community is and how quickly they can support people. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are changing the way they plan and construct ideas based on what perks and features that can make available to potential Kickstarter fans.”

 

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