I danced foolishly in my Kickstarter video. I’ve watched more Kickstarter videos than anyone should admit to and I’m going to show you the best I’ve seen along with some that are just thought-provoking. You’ll see why I danced and how I made lots of other important decisions!
To dance or not to dance?
First, watch the video above to see a handful of successful Kickstarter project videos with dancing founders in them so you can see what inspired me to dance foolishly (I can’t sing) in my video. The first one I came across was David Barnett’s PopSocket project and I later had the privilege of meeting him in person and discussing his dance. He encouraged me to do my own dance but warned me that he encountered plenty of haters after launching his project. From a quick Google search, it looks to me like the haters didn’t do him any harm, and if anything may have helped generate a little PR.
Every morning when I wake up, I pray to be the best in the world at what I do without losing a sense of humor. So for me, that’s what the dancing is about, keeping it fun.
David Barnett’s PopSocket – he dances, he entertains and his product is great too, I love mine (raised $18k):
Chairigami guy’s standing desk allows him to dance and work (raised $50k):
Jesse Lee’s Horizon Trike project starts out with Jesse doing a little dance that is maybe attention grabbing if not well integrated into the story. Sort of charming in a way – I guess it is about authenticity or humility, maybe humanizing, not sure exactly, but I think it still works (raised $126k):
Other funny kickstarter videos: beer blizzard and ??
To stand or sit?
For my first product videos, I sat on my living room floor emulating the GoldieBlox project video. Unfortunately, I came across very stiff in that position, and decided to stand up for version 2. standing up will make it easier for you to loosen up and to speak more powerfully. Standing up is a common trick salespeople use to energize their voice while talking on the phone.
Debbie Sterling’s GoldieBlox video shows her sitting on a wood floor next to her products. Sitting on the floor legs crossed is a sympathetic position and makes it easy to show the product while talking which is what attracted me to the style (raised $285k):
Charles Waugh does a good loose and relaxed standing pitch for his slingshot project (raised $70k):
The first 30 seconds
The first 30 seconds are critical – we need to grab the viewer’s attention and make a connection real fast or the games over. There’s more than one way to skin this cat, but I think that’s best done with a question that addresses the problem or the point of pain solved by the product. Here are some good examples.
Jake Bronstein’s 10 year hoodie video starts out with the question “Can I tell you a secret?” – right on Jake (raised $1.053 million):
Y Athletics starts off with a statement of the problem – smelly gym shirts (raised $250k):
Bitbanger Labs’ Remee product was a dud but they still raised $572,000 opening with this question “What would you do if you could control your dreams?”:
The way that you ask the viewer to take action strikes me as a key part of a Kickstarter video. Sure, some projects succeed with no ask at all. I know it can be done, but I wanted to see how the pros did it. First, watch Jack Sutter’s ask (raised $317k):
So please become part of the story, make a pledge and get a wallet – I really think you’re going to like this wallet… so much – thank you for listening and taking the time to watch this video.
And compare with these:
- blink steady (raised $82k) – “the blink steady light is the bike light you’ve been waiting for – help us make one for you“
- bloom blanket (raised $204k) – “it’s been so lovely having the prototype of the bloom blanket at home with me and I hope you will want to have a Bloom in your home as well, thank you – bye”
- centr cam – “So if we don’t reach our Kickstarter goal, centr cam never comes to life and I think one of the most important things for us is to get this camera into the hands of a lot of different types of people – you know we believe people are going to do new and exciting things with centr cam that we can’t even imagine today, and without the support of the Kickstarter community, that dream will never come true.”
- flyup (raised $21k) – fitness tool – “Join the fly up family by being the first to own and help bring fly up fitness to life“
- galileo (raised $702k) – pan tilt for iphone – “so that’s Galileo, we’re really close to bringing it to market but we need your help, we hope you’ll join us” – thank you on the screen in text next to rotating product.
- goldie blocks (raised $285k)- toys – sitting, windows, depth of field – “help me build Goldilocks so that our girls can build their future – thanks for watching”
- handleband (raised $120k) – bike accessory – “literally the moment that we reach our funding goal, will be able to pay for the tooling to start manufacturing, but it takes a village and I can’t do this alone – so if you like the product please consider pre-ordering by clicking on the button to the right. . . a big part of this is building out the word, so if you have friends that like biking or family that might find it interesting, please pass it along to them”
- kittyo – “we’ve got some great early bird pricing going on, so please, back this project or share with your favorite cat lover”
- ministry of supply (raised $429k) – high tech shirts – “with the fabric formulated in the manufacturing in place, we’re ready to go, the money we raise on Kickstarter will pay for first production run, so join us by pledging sharing, contacting us and help us create the next generation of business apparel“
- misfit shine (raised $846k) – wireless activity tracker – “We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into making the shine. We’re looking to you to prove you’ll love it just as much as we hope you will. By funding our project you’re saying that you want it (pause) and it allows us to overcome the complexities of manufacturing and let’s us just focus on making a great elegant product.”
- monkii bars (raised $111k) – fitness tool – “this journey to make monkey bars a reality rivals any adventures we’ve had – however, there’s one last hurdle before we begin manufacturing, (long pause) we need your support to help fund the tooling necessary to start production, so check out our awards and support us with your pledge and by sharing the project with your friends, all of our Kickstarter backers will get a big discount off the retail price. Pledge now and we’ll keep you updated as we work to get your new monkey bars into your hands this summer. Thank you.”
- oculus (raised $2.4 million) – 3d headset – “Make a pledge, help us change gaming forever“
- peleton bike (raised $307k) – “we’re ready to greenlight our manufacturing partners to build the first production run of the Peleton bike – they’re ready, we’re ready, and we hope you’re ready, thanks.”
- silverair (raised $207k) – high tech shirts – great please and thank you – “Hey Kickstarters, my name is Sam, at Y Athletics we’re extremely proud of the product we’ve created – the design is complete, the manufacturing is lined up, the only thing we need is your help (pause) to bring this to life , please support us. (pause) Thank you.”
- slingshot (raised $70k) – video phone stabilizer – “…you know I’m really excited about this project, but because there’s still a lot to do, I need your help to make this project a complete reality and of course as a thank you for helping me I’ve got some great rewards over here as a thank you for helping me. Thanks so much for taking the time to watch this video I really appreciate your support.”
- smarter stand (raised $157k) – “so simple yet so useful, it really has changed how I use my iPad, back this project and you’ll get yours – you’ll love it, you’ll use it every day just like I have.”
- tgt (raise $317k) – wallet – “so please become part of the story, make a pledge and get a wallet – I really think you’re going to like this wallet (long pause) so much – thank you for listening and taking the time to watch this video.” (smiling)
- the bradley (raised $594k) – brail watch – “jump on board and be part of this revolution”
- threadmasont (raised $34k) – “Kickstarter, now we need your help, you guys will be our first big round of customers and you’re going to help us bring threadmason to the rest of the country and the world“
One product or two?
I decided to run with two products which introduces a lot more complexity but only found one other crowdfunding project also offering two products. That’s Slava Menn’s fortified bike lights (raised $177k) and it’s really well done with great graphics, definitely worth a look.
Got a PR Stunt?
While I was trying to figure out how the monkey bars guys got on CNN, the Today Show and Good Morning America, I discovered it was a result of their hot air balloon PR stunt. A few people called 911 thinking something had gone wrong and that made the news. I did a little more digging for other Kickstarter PR stunts but could only come up with these projects. I found a list of bigger budget PR stunts for some more food for thought, but in the end, I doubt there’s going to be a PR stunt in my future.
Monkii bars (raised $111k) – hot air balloon teaser provokes 911 calls which make this news:
I’ve backed quite a few Kickstarter projects and one very sharp project that caught my eye was Qlipter – not only a phenomenal tool that I’m looking forward to receiving, but really first-class marketing. Take a look at the first and last giveaway contest they ran:
This observation inspired us to have another (most likely final) give-away honoring photographers.
You can enter to win 3 qlipters by doing the following:
- Tag a photographer you know in the comments section of this Facebook post (2 entries)
- Comment on this post (1 entry)
- Like this post (1 entry)
- Retweet our message about the give-away (1 entry)
- In honor of photographers, we are adding Pinterest this time: Follow us (2 entries)
The winning entry will be randomly selected at 9 am PST on Monday, 5/19.
When the show is over
Do you want to show off your crowdfunding roots after your campaign ends? I do and I spent some time looking for sites that do a good job of this. This is what I found so far:
- nabeesocks.com – allows you to play Kickstarter video on homepage.
Here’s one last list of Kickstarter projects you may want to see for one reason or another:
- ab monster – second try is the charm
- c100 viewfinder – use of props, red shirt, tone, mention of prototype feedback
- clug – very nice two color headlines
- euphoria – free worldwide shipping on a 5 pound game, incredible story here, guarantee and social media stretch goals
- fire ant stove – youtube channel, inspiring results
- qlipter – history of
- mogics light – nice graphics
- peace bicycles – beautiful page setup
- pono – testimonials, $6m raised
- redtail slackline – beautiful graphics
- scio – good graphics, complex rewards, big raise – $2.7 million
- snaprays guide light – inspiring results (raised $480k)
- neso tents – just fun, minimal effort, great results