Since the dawn of the internet age, the human race has sought to answer one vital query: how do I make money from this shit? For the last several years the solution has appeared to be crowdfunding. It’s a grass roots response to capitalism, each empowered individual raising both middle fingers toward the heavens and yelling, “Yes, I shall help produce a giant Lionel Richie head!”
Crowdfunding has ushered some significant advances in our lifestyles and technology, and let’s not forget we have Kickstarter to thank for the return of Reading Rainbow, and to blame for the return of Veronica Mars. Yes, for every “Exploding Kittens” moment of unadulterated genius, there are about 40 Pebble smartwatch embarrassments. Mixed in with the genuine attempts to fund entrepreneurial efforts are swathes of morons who have seen an opportunity to have their erotic vampire space opera series of novellas foisted upon readers. We live in an age where people are doing everything they possibly can to trick the unsuspecting public into funding their special little projects, and we’re falling for it. Even when that special project involves eating a lot of potato salad…
These are just a few of the idiotic campaigns that have graced Kickstarter’s servers in recent years. Who knows, you might be inspired to create a little mayhem of your own.
16. The Shield Hat – Headgear for the Paranoid
Kickstarter campaigns have often been pioneers in updating antiquated ideas, reforming them to be relevant for current lifestyles. And what could be more relevant for the post 9/11 panic-fest that our lives have become than a new version of the tin foil hat?
The Shield brand of apparel purports to be specifically designed to bounce electromagnetic waves and radiation away from your head, using beanies and caps constructed of pure silver fabric. Why the hell would you need something like this when you’ve managed to survive with every single electronic device and the sun itself transmitting electromagnetic waves at your face? Well, the Genesis of this essential device began with the campaigner’s cousin complaining of insomnia, and a conclusion being reached that it must be all the damn WiFi clogging up his brain-tubes.
15. Ballsoap for Dudes – Special Soap for Your Special Gentlemanly Parts
Every guy’s experienced this dilemma. You’re happy using any soap-like product you find on 99% of your body – bleach, drain cleaner, the occasional spritz of Windex – but you’ve always felt there needs to be something niche to tackle your testicles.
The delightfully juvenile Ballsoap for Dudes, presented complete with an amateurish 1980s style mock-commercial video, seems to have no ball-specific properties whatsoever. No promise to reach heavily-wrinkled areas, no relief from chaffing after a heavy day in the saddle – nothing that really justifies its existence. It’s just nice soap, which they decided would be okay to rub on your bag of dangling objects.
14. Korean Dude vs Gallon of Kimchi – Voyeurism for Feeders
The internet is especially good at providing us with some absolute mind-crumbling nonsense to affix our eyeballs to. But, as frequently happens, Kickstarter provided us an opportunity to take this to its next level of utter banality with “Korean Dude vs Gallon of Kimchi”.
The titular Korean Dude, Kevin Vollmers from Minneapolis, started a flash campaign requesting $1000. In return for their spare cash, pledgers would be given access to view Vollmers eat a gallon of the fermented vegetable dish, wearing nothing but his underwear. A viewing experience to rival almost anything produced by Fox.
If there’s any comfort to be had from this idiocy, it’s that Vollmers posted the campaign to raise funds for the minority community advocacy charity, Gazillion Strong. The campaign raised $1,342 before it was suspended by Kickstarter under breach of its no-charities terms.
13. The Alley Cat Anti-Theft Cover for Backpacks – Backpack Inception
Crime is a significant problem throughout the world, as is the rise of selfie stick use. However, this Kickstarter campaign only sought to tackle the former – which seems a bit short sighted.
The Alley Cat Anti-Theft Cover for Backpacks was birthed into this world by former US Diplomatic Security Service employee Barry Shaul. With his many years of state security experience, travelling around the world on law enforcement business, he concluded that the ideal solution to pickpockets was: put your backpack inside another bag.
This ground-breaking device was essentially an ugly sack of black polyester that looked about as durable and secure as edible underwear. In fact, they could probably have raised a bit more capital by suggesting users put their bag within a bag within a bag…and inside that bag is Leonardo DiCaprio.
12. Mokase – The Coffee-Making Phone Case
Occasionally, a Kickstarter campaign comes along to which your reaction is, “That’s totally an April Fool’s Day gag…I don’t care if it’s December”. Firmly entrenched in that category was Mokase, the cell phone case that makes coffee.
The product, designed by a team in Italy, worked by users inserting a “wafer” which contained all the coffee-making materials into the Mokase, tapping on an app, and then a few minutes later pouring a hot beverage from their phone. Because there’s nothing that could possibly go wrong by having hot fluids next to electronics, or in the pocket of your pants, or spilling over your face as you take a duck-faced selfie.
Some serious investment clearly went into this project, there was even a slick video which suggested that if a girl refuses to go for coffee with a strange creeper, she’ll accept a totally Rohypnol-free espresso poured from his phone.
11. Poopins – Apparently Sticking Little Objects In Poop Is A Passtime
This one comes from the file labelled, “People Who Have Way Too Much Time On Their Hands…and Probably a Little Bit of Poo, Too”.
Fresh from the shores of New Zealand, the Poopins project was pushed out of the stinky idea-hole of Stephen McCarthy. While walking his dog along the beach, he clearly worked himself into such a rabid lather by not having anyone to yell at for failing to clear up their canine’s leavings, that he ran home and created something not at all passive-aggressive in nature. The solution: colorful tags that you can reach down and shove into the offending poo, featuring such witty phrases as, “Don’t be a Dick, Pick Up Ya S#!t”.
Perhaps the oddest part of this project is the sheer rage-driven commitment to which this guy approached his project, going so far as to source rock-based biodegradable materials for his poop-adornments.
10. Spurandals – You’re Not a Cowboy, Hippy
It’s difficult to calculate how many countless masses have been plodding along the beach in their flip-flops and thought, “I can’t raise a posse dressed like this, I need me some spurs”.
Step in Janet Furginson, the pioneer courageous enough to take on the gargantuan task of offering the people of the internet Spurandals, a neoprene spur that sticks to your flip-flops or sandals. Furginson was also keen to point out that these devices were manufactured in America, because the US industrial landscape needed just that kind of morale boost.
9. Gentleman’s Single-Use Unlubricated Monocles – Protection for the Dapper Gent
We all remember those health education classes in school, the embarrassment of seeing the teacher unwrap some protection and slip it over his eyeball. No?
Straddling the utterly ridiculous and the little bit genius, Zachary Wiener (aka Dr Wienersmith) brought his concept for Gentleman’s Single-Use Unlubricated Monocles to Kickstarter, and somehow managed to find people who thought this was missing in their lives.
Packaged in condom-style tearable wrappers, each monocle is made from durable plastic, complete with a 2-inch chain. While most of us are still figuring out why we would need such a device, 5,093 people pledged $127,155 to see this become something that exists in real life.
8. Pencil Dice – It’s Not Enough to Just be a Pencil
Many a time have the artists of the world been sketching their masterpieces when faxed with the urge to play a quick game of craps. Probably.
Noticing that pencils have six surfaces on them, and that dice also have this interesting feature, D20 Entertainment decided to combine the two to create the ultimate in role-playing game equipment – Pencil Dice. For when you just need to throw your pencil across the room AND defeat the cave troll.
Oddly enough, the Kickstarter campaign materials note that this isn’t the first time someone has stumbled across this concept, which begs the question as to why everybody isn’t already flinging their pencils around with gay abandon.
7. USB HashKey – The World Needs More Keys
Gather ’round children, and I’ll spin ye a tale of the world before hashtagging. It was a simple time, and when we occasionally used the hash symbol, we were somehow able to locate it on the keyboard.
This utopian past has been replaced by something dark and terrible, so Been Gomori decided to navigate humanity through the wilderness by providing us with a dedicated USB HashKey. Produced in brushed aluminum for the pretentious iCrowd, this campaign attracted industry attention and was even featured in British newspaper Metro with surprisingly little irony.
6. NoPhone – Buy Some Pointless Irony
Finally, a Kickstarter campaign that treats us like the hopeless, tech-addicted, perpetually tethered morons that it’s so keen for us to know we are. Thanks jerks.
Purporting to be the solution to our apparently serious over-reliance upon hand-to-phone contact, the NoPhone team decided that we needed some kind of adult pacifier in the form of a rectangular piece of plastic. It can’t make calls, doesn’t connect to WiFi, it just provides us with a comfort blanket so we can crawl around and fully connect with our environment. In fact, there’s even a “selfie upgrade”, which is a mirror attached to the front of the product. These people are so insightful of our psychological needs that it’s a wonder we haven’t all assigned power of attorney to them.
5. StackUp – Easy Chip Handling for the Oafish
First world problems are not always insignificant. Macek Technika, creators of the StackUp project, have tackled one of the great calamities of our age. Now we can eat our “preformed potato chips” (Pringles, they’re Pringles), without getting our hand stuck in the tube and flailing around screaming for hours until the fire department frees us with the jaws of life.
Now, while the need for such a thing is stupid, the design is – grudgingly – well thought out. One pushes the StackUp into the can of chips, upends said can, and – voila! – your chips are loaded into an easy-access plastic frame. Congratulations, you survived a can of chips – this time.
4. Bring Your D to the Table – A Prick of Confidence
Women do not have penises. Usually. They do not need them to be successful, confident human beings, they are perfectly well designed to be awesome with what they have.
This particular Kickstarter, however, seems to be suggesting otherwise. Bring Your Dick to the Table, created by Holly Wilson, functions as a sort of totem. When a woman feels a crisis of confidence, or belittled in business by a man, she can reach into her pocket and grasp a 1.5″ gold, silver, or bronze member in order to remind herself that she’s equal to the fellow across the boardroom. Nope, no flaws with that logic.
3. Meat Soap – Eau de Abbatoir
If you eat enough burgers – possibly a bit of chilli – and then head to the gym, chances are you’ll leave stinking of potent meat sweats. However, there’s now an easier way to get that hearty stench of delicious carcasses all over your body.
Ali Dryer, creator of Meat Soap, decided that she loved meat and loved soap in such equal proportion that combining the two was a no-brainer. In order to infuse her soaps with a distinctly bacon-y scent, she has used animal biproducts that are usually discarded in the manufacturing of soap, and lovingly rendered the perfect fats to create a veritable spectrum of meat fragrances. The Texas-based campaigner (could this have come from anywhere but Texas, honestly?) has also dressed each bar in butcher shop style wrapping.
2. Sacco Leather Coin Sack – Jangle Your Doubloons
There is an undeniable joy to occasionally being adorned anachronistically. Wear a pocket watch, peer over some pince-nez, strap a broadsword to your back for that annual salary review – these things are fine and dandy.
Wieslaw Mlynarczyk, however, has brought the world something that it discarded for good reasons – the Sacco Leather Coin Sack. Yep, this campaign takes what had formerly been reserved for the Renaissance Fair and dragged it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Putting aside the fact that most of us rarely carry loose change anyway, there’s just very little appealing about strapping that looks like a discolored ballsack to your belt and hitting the town. As a goal incentive, Mlynarczyk threw in some ugly green cord so that backers could even wear more than one sac about their person.
1. Watermelon Straps/Holder – Strap it Up
For some reason, people are always inventing things to avoid the slapstick scenarios that make life worth living! In this case, the product is something so unbelievably niche and pointless that it would be preferable to allow disaster to strike.
The catchily-monikered Watermelon Straps/Holder is Mike Draghici’s solution to a problem that nobody really complained about: how can I get my watermelon home without fumbling it like a moron? The product is a swatch of vinyl that cradles your precious melon, allowing you to carry it by a couple of handles like a surrealist briefcase. Of course, this doesn’t solve the problem of, what if you’re buying more than one melon?
Apparently stores like US grocery chain Kroger has “taken an interest”, and 14 especially clumsy backers pledged $332 in the hope of avoiding future melon calamities.
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