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10 Genius Tactics of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD & More Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign


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A new case study on '10 Genius Tactics of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD & More Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign.' Authored by Carrie Cutforth-Young, July 2013.

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10 Genius Tactics of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD & More Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign

  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. 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% respectively
  4. 4. 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.
  5. 5. 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 success.
  6. 6. 3. DIDN’T USE THE TERM “CROWDFUNDING” 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 Kickstarter was. Treated the page as an avenue for presales for the DVD. The title of campaign didn’t hint at “raising funds.” The word “fund” only appeared once on the page.
  7. 7. …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!
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. 5. HONOURED FANS AS AN ONGOING EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT “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 Bushman 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.
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. 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.
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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 Bushman.
  17. 17. FOR MORE INFO: Read The Full Case Study at Visit Also check out Annelise Larson’s Case Study on the Digital Marketing of Lizzie Bennet Diaries & James Cooper’s book: Kickstarter for Filmmakers.