10 Genius Tactics of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD & More Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign
THE TOP TEN TACTICS OF
THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES
THE CAMPAIGN IN CONTEXT
Currently there have been 10, 644 successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns in the
Film & Video Category. Out of those only 112 reached $100,000 or more.
In contrast, 16,020 campaigns in Film & Video Category were unsuccessful, with 3, 411
of those not making a single dime.
60% of campaigns in Film & Video have failed to reach their goal.
Only 0.4% of all campaigns in Film & Video have reached $100k or more.
A HISTORIC CAMPAIGN
Reached $60,000 goal in under
three hours of launch
At campaign end, was 4th most
funded in Film/Video (now 6th)
bumped only by Zach Braff and
Zane Lamprey’s campaigns
Reached a total of $462, 405
For an astounding 770% of goal
Compared to The Cyanide &
Happiness show & Veronica Mars
which reached 308% & 285%
1. BUILT A HARDCORE FANBASE FIRST
Prior to the Kickstarter Lizzie Bennet Diaries had:
33.4 million views on Youtube (all content/all channels)
361,984 Youtube subscribers (all content/all channels)
350,000 twitter followers (all accounts)
A passive audience of 185,000-250,000 per episode
Only 7158 backers, roughly 3% of the more generously
estimated 250,000 regular viewer base.
James Cooper, writer of Kickstarter for Filmmakers, admonishes producers that the
“crowd” comes first in “crowdfunding”.
Although acquiring a mass audience, LBD, more importantly developed True Fans:
those who would invest in the production through monetized support.
2. STRATEGICALLY TIMED LAUNCH
“We launched the KS campaign at the end of the show’s run – the day after the
climactic episode ninety-eight when Lizzie kissed Darcy for the first time. The fanbase
was in a complete uproar over the long-awaited kiss, and they were also beginning to
grapple with the imminent ending of the show.” ~ Jay Bushman, Transmedia Producer.
Campaign Rode Wave of Fan Emotional High After Climatic Show Ending
The timing rode the wave of the
fans emotional high who were now
keenly invested in resolutions –
not only the fruition of Lizzie and
Darcy’s blossoming relationship
that they had been shipping for
over a year, but also the emotional
investment in the production itself
– the personal connection to the
creators, cast and crew and
contributing to THEIR ongoing
3. DIDN’T USE THE TERM
Pemberly Digital geared the campaign for
an audience who would be likely unfamiliar
with terms such as crowdfunding and who
many likely didn’t even know what
Treated the page as an avenue for presales
for the DVD.
The title of campaign didn’t hint at “raising
The word “fund” only appeared once on the
…NORMALIZING PAYING FOR CONTENT
By treating the Kickstarter as a pre-sale for DVD’s, Pemberley Digital inversed the
relationship from holding out “tin cup in hand” to “business as usual”. This also
normalized paying for content. Look, kids! Even Hank owns a lot of DVD sets! It’s
what fans do!
4. PERKS POSITIONED AS FAN SERVICE
“Sure, as a creator, you get to get these items into
the hands of the people who are going to care
about the materials. And they seem just like
posters or blank journals or a DVD, but what they
really are: they really are physical embodiments of
the emotional energy these audience members
have put into the show. You are sending basically
totems and there is an incredible amount of power
to that.” ~ Jay Bushman
Perks were not positioned as rewards for donating or supporting, but rather totems of
the storyworld in sudden demand by fans. Rewards were tiered as fan service.
Introduced both popularity and scarcity with expressions: “BY POPULAR DEMAND” &
only “50 WILL EVER EXIST!”
Fan base was positioned to feel THEY were the ones being rewarded by the creators
and NOT the other way around.
5. HONOURED FANS AS AN ONGOING
“You are going to give them
something, and then a little bit
later you are going to give them
something else, and then you’re
still going to keep giving them
stuff, and unlike many
entertainment properties you are
demonstrating that this isn’t a
thing you do or watch and it’s
over and you forget about.” ~ Jay
By positioning Welcome to Sanditon as almost ancillary to the DVD campaign, Pemberley
Digital demonstrated it was NOT just going to abandon the fan base and move on to the
next unrelated thing. Instead it is necessary to train the audience after creating these
relationships and this sense of communal hub that the production was one they could
explicitly put trust in.
6. BRANDED AN ESTABLISHED
PROPERTY AS ONE’S OWN
Yes, the LBD leveraged the popularity of Pride &
Prejudice with an established audience of Janites
But it also capitalized on the monetization of the
novel to a completely new audience now rabidly
eager to read the book that their now favourite
show was based upon.
Further, Pemberley Digital personalized the content
with the promise of a new LBD inspired cover and
forward written by Hank himself.
Of course not many properties are based on public
domain works with established fan bases but this
demonstrates business savvy to monetize popular
content cheap to produce that can be bundled with
the branding of one’s own property/brand.
Fan Created Re-Imagining
7. TRUSTED FANS TO VALUE THEIR WORK
• Pemberley Digital had faith in the fans to come to fore and pony up so they could back pay the
Welcome to Sanditon production and demonstrated this by declaring they would start production
right away and not wait for the funds to be raised first with a wait-and-see attitude. The copy
even says: “We won’t leave you guys hanging!” This is very much akin to the trust demonstrated
by Louis C.K. that his true fans wouldn’t pirate his content but understand the value of it.
• This added urgency to the campaign: “We won’t leave you hanging!” served to create a subtext
of: This needs to be produced right away! We can’t wait to begin! (You shouldn’t either!)
• This framing instantly added value to all future work with an attitude of: Hey, we know we
worked for free in the past, but moving forward we are seeing our production blood, sweat and
tears as having a price tag that should be respected. We should get paid and so should our cast
and crew, and you guys get that and we have such implicit trust you will come to the fore, we will
start our work with the understanding it has monetary value and you’ll respect that.
8. KISS (KEPT IT SIMPLE STUPID)
Kept fulfillment simple by managing a few products in differing combinations
for the various reward levels despite the reported 15,000 various individual
items shipped out.
Higher Value was placed on more popular character/cast & crew used for
pledges almost identical to each other.
9. “ANOINTED” DIE HARD FAN WITH
EXCLUSIVE IN STORY REWARD
LBD had an extensive transmedia campaign throughout the production, which
encouraged the rabid fans to engage with the character’s twitter accounts and
so on but also generated a lot of UGC (user generated content).
UGC is often positioned as “crowdsourcing” the marketing of
your property by encouraging word of mouth maximizing social
spread. The fans of LBD had been trained for these kinds of
storyworld play activities and Welcome to Sanditon promised to
take this to the next level.
Valued at $1000, the top tiered reward was going to allow up to two diehard fans to
have access to the storyworld in ways no other fans would be granted access. This
particular reward level becomes an almost storyworld “anointment” of their
fictionalized existences to be acknowledged by beloved characters to the envy of
other fans keen on participating in the more active transmedia elements.
…FOR THE FAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING
10. ENABLED FANS TO ALLOW THEM TO
BACK-REWARD CAST & CREW
Jay Bushman said this was really reflected in the comments of the backers who
kept saying things like:
“I really want a DVD, the journal, the posters (or whatever perk they had backed for),
but more than anything else please pay the crew and the cast. You have given us a
year’s worth of really incredible entertainment for free, please take our money and
pay the people who created it.”
Jay Bushman credits the overwhelming success of the
Lizzie Bennet Diary campaign, on the promise that the
talented cast and crew who had invested much of
their own time, skills, expertise and money into the
making of the project with little monetary payback,
would now finally receive back royalties based on the
success of the Kickstarter. By contributing to the
Kickstarter, the fans would enable Pemberley Digital to
honour this amazing pool of people who created the
content the fans absolutely loved.
A PARADIGM SHIFT
A paradigm shift has taken place
between how content creators think
of their relationship with audiences
and how to activate their fans.
“This is no longer about funding, but
this is about the crowd, this is about
your relationship with them and this
is about giving of yourself so they will
give back to you and it is a complete
inversion on how we as entertainers
normally fund our projects.” ~ Jay
FOR MORE INFO:
Read The Full Case Study at StoryHorizon.com
Also check out Annelise Larson’s Case Study on the Digital Marketing of
Lizzie Bennet Diaries & James Cooper’s book: Kickstarter for Filmmakers.