Kooky Kickstarters — Why They Succeed

NPR:

Kickstarters give people a sense of belonging

“The Internet is this incredibly cluttered space,” says Deborah Small, “and advertisers are spending tons of money to capture the attention of consumers.” Like Ethan, Deborah is a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research areas focus on marketing and psychology.

Then along comes this random guy “with a silly campaign,” Deborah says. “We know that unusual things grab attention — and humor is part of that.”

Deborah also attributes the odder crowdfunded successes to a sense of wanting to belong. “It’s like how people wear certain clothes to fit in with certain groups,” she says. “It’s kind of ironic, because usually we think of conformity as being normal or mainstream, and yet these people are conforming to this strange phenomenon.”

Remember the Pet Rock?

Ellen Langer, a social psychologist and professor at Harvard University, studies mindfulness and decision making. She says there’s a long history of society funding offbeat ideas, such as the Pet Rock.

Stones packed in boxes like live animals, Pet Rocks were conceived in the 1970s by advertising executive Gary Dahl. They became all the rage, and the fad made Dahl a millionaire.

Ellen believes the same thing is happening with some Kickstarter campaigns. They could be the Pet Rocks of this decade.

She suggests several different motivations for this type of financial sponsorship.

“Sometimes it’s a lark,” Ellen says. “People see it as a small amount of money for enjoyment it could bring.”

Read the whole story: NPR

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