Exploding Kittens is an old school playing card game launched on the crowd funding site Kickstarter.
What’s amazing is that it’s attracted over $5 million in funding in just 11 days.
It’s become the most popular campaign ever on Kickstarter (i.e. it’s now #1 in terms of the number of funders with a total so far of 126,896 – surpassing the previous best by 20,000 – and it’s still growing as I write this with 19 days of the campaign left to go).
But how did they do it?
How can you come from nowhere and be #1 in a matter of days?
Let’s take a look at the numbers first.
- What they’re selling is a commodity (a deck of cards) – so it’s cheap to produce.
- The average sale per pack at the time of writing is $20.36 ($5,000,157 / 245,542 packs). Very high margin.
- The total number of packs they will have to print will be known BEFORE they commit to the print run. Very cheap production and no waste.
- The cost of sales is likely to be considerably less than $3 including manufacturing, shipping and worldwide distribution.
So you’ve got a gross profit at the time of writing of at least $4.25m, with a potential for $7m+
Not bad at all.
So how come this got so big so fast?
Marketing (I was bound to say that!).
The guys behind it have a very popular blog called The Oatmeal.
So they have an instant distribution channel.
But that wasn’t enough – not in their estimate anyway – their Kickstarter goal was a lowly $10k (perhaps this was done to encourage a better take up).
Was it the concept? Not really. Selling games via crowd funded sources like Kickstarter has been a business model for what seems like forever (in Internet terms).
(take a look at the top selling crowd funding ideas on Wikipedia here if you fancy a go)
Was it down to an advertising campaign? Again, not really. That is, they didn’t spend a fortune advertising on other people’s sites to get it launched.
Was it down to word of mouth? Absolutely. Started by an ad and blast from their site to a dedicated landing page.
Anyone can do that, right? Of course.
But there’s one difference between Exploding Kittens and Everyone.
Kittens (just like cats) are viral.
So it’s the idea. But more than that, it’s the words used to convey the idea.
If the words can embed an image in the reader’s mind (exploding kitten), and take that reader on a journey (of Russian roulette in this case), they will become invested in it, and are more likely to get on board.
And if that happens, others will follow sure as cossacks are cossacks and an avalanche will follow.
The media will then catch hold of it (especially if you send out a few well crafted press releases) and they in turn will pile a ton more snow behind it and give it a massive shove.
And it snowballs.
The question is, how can you package what you do in such a way that people will not only see it as the only choice (the #1 in the market) but desperately want a part of it too?
It’s all in the words used. It always was, and always will be.
There is no such thing as media that doesn’t work (eg. PPC, print advertising, flyers, snail mail, email). What matters are the words used to sell them.