In 2001, a comedy group called Broken Lizard gave a gift to the world called Super Troopers. 14 years later, it is still a cultural phenomenon because of the shenanigans in the movie and fans have been clamoring for a sequel for years.
Last week, Broken Lizard announced that the script for the sequel is done, but they needed to independently secure funding for the production of the movie. They turned to Indiegogo for a crowdfunding campaign with the hope of raising $2 million in 30 days. 24 hours later, they hit their target fundraising goal and with 22 days still left to go, they have raised over $3 million.
The wild success of this campaign might seem like a Hollywood stunt, but in reality, this was a grassroots communications campaign with some great execution. What can we learn from this?
1. Know your audience
One of the most important aspects of any communications campaign is knowing and understanding your audience. Before you can talk to someone, you have to make sure you know where they hang out and that you’re speaking their language.
Super Troopers is a cult comedy classic and Broken Lizard knew they were speaking to a very specific audience. They had to be true to the movie and that’s why the campaign is full of absurdity and irreverence — just like the movie. They announced the crowdfunding campaign via reddit AMA and after hitting the front page, they raised more than $600,000 just from that effort alone. As you read through the Indiegogo campaign page, you’ll see movie quotes and references throughout as well as all the original cast members participating in videos and perks. It’s clear they know their audience and that audience has rewarded them handsomely.
2. Clear call to action
It’s said that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, but I think that’s nonsense. As communicators, it’s our responsibility to make our messages clear and lower the barrier to entry enough that anyone can participate. Broken Lizard nailed this.
They have creative perks ranging from $1 to $35,000 and a very clear call to action:
There’s no doubt that raising $3 million in eight days is impressive. But what is perhaps more impressive is that Super Troopers 2 raised this money from only 33,000+ funders – roughly $95 per funder.
3. Be creative
The internet is an amazing thing, but it has also raised the bar for creativity — something I refer to as the “Jimmy Fallon Effect.” To compete for attention in the age of the Internet, it’s no longer sufficient to just have a celebrity come on your show and give an interview; you need something more. A quick look at Jimmy Fallon’s most popular videos on YouTube has Emma Stone in a Lip Sync Battle, Daniel Radcliffe rapping, and Will Ferrell having a drum-off.
The same applies to communications campaigns — you have to dare to be creative. The creative fundraising perks range from the cool (naming a movie character or being an extra) to the absurd (a battle at Beerfest Chicago or actually purchasing one of the squad cars used in the movie). These crazy perks make for a great story and the media has played a big role in the campaign’s vitality.
4. Be visual
In addition to a higher bar for creativity, the internet has also challenged our attention spans. With so much content being generated every day, being visual is more important than ever. In order to cut through the clutter and noise, Broken Lizard created visual content for all of their perks and main messaging points. This helps draw attention to the important information and also stays consistent with their tone of voice throughout.
5. Build a campaign
Campaign planning is an integral part of any communication strategy. It’s important to plan for the big splash, but also the long swim, especially in the case of a thirty-day crowdfunding campaign. With such a strong cult following, it’s not a huge surprise this campaign met its funding goal in one day. What is impressive, however, is the fact that Broken Lizard planned a campaign for sustained engagement and not just the initial splash.
In addition to the original perks, they’ve also added stretch goals and new perks every day to help drive more contributions. Again, their call to action is clear: the more money they raise, the better the movie. And now they’re giving people a reason to check back in with the campaign and possibly donate again.
In an interview with Wired, they said they approached this campaign like a live show. “We want to make it feel like an experience you’re having over the course of a month, something you want to go along on the ride for.”
This is definitely one ride I’m excited to go on and my only regret is that I’m not getting married anytime soon, otherwise I would do whatever I could to get the Troopers at my wedding.
Image credits: Broken Lizard