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Case Study: LEGACY Playing Cards Relaunch?



After 3 successful projects- The Grid, The Grid 2.0 and Necronomicon, the guys from 4PM Designs (4PM) launched LEGACY at the end of Nov13. The project currently stands at $13.7k of their $15k goal with over 20 days remaining. According to our data provider Kickspy, the project is trending towards $21k (144% funded).



Everything seem to be on track. Project update on the Dec 27 gave the impression that everything is on track with a new add-on being offered. Then came the bombshell- On Jan 1, an update was sent out to all backers.
... As the Legacy struggles forward we have been considering different options for this project and our next. We have gotten plenty of good reactions to the decks and had big plans to continue the Legacy series as long as there was a demand for it. However, it doesn't seem that time is now. Before we go further, no we are not abandoning the Legacy decks. We love our Legacy decks and do plan to release it. We hoped to raise enough to have all the bells and whistles put on the decks but at the rate funding is going, and the costs of producing a minimum of 5,000 decks (2,500/2,500 each color), it makes things difficult. Instead of blatantly canceling then relaunching the project, we are presenting supporters of the 4PM brand some options, as new ones have been brought to our attention. Our planned KS deck to follow Legacy is planned for a February/March release. The reason why it would be launched so quickly is because of a business opportunity (which will make producing decks easier for us)...
The word struggle and cost caught my eye. From a backer's point of view, being 92% with more than 21 days remaining doesn't look like the project is struggling. Surely this project will be funded given the time. Also, why wasn't this decision made ealier?

In my opinion, this came down to inadequate planning, which indirectly affecting cost. Firstly, 4PM probably didn't expect the growth rate to slow drastically over the holiday period. Can't blame them seeing that their past 3 projects were all above the $40k mark. Also, LEGACY's day 1 stats were pretty impressive with over $6k raised within the first 24 hours. That's 44% of the funding goal.


Secondly, launching a project over the holiday period is always risky! For me, it's not about the money but more about the buzz and interest it generates. People do spend less time in front of screens during the holiday period and with all the traveling, family time and holiday sales that is going around in Dec, it is really hard to capture interest. I for one did not see the creator in the forums promoting the project or any social media marketing campaign. I tried contacting 4PM earlier in the campaign requesting for some non-watermarked photos of LEGACY for a write-up on Kardify to help spread the word. No reply.

Thirdly, 4PM were very ambitious to start with. Setting a lower funding goal to attract backers is great but what happens when it is just 5%-10% above goal? Potentially, 4PM would have to pay for and fulfill all of these products which costs above the funding goal leaving the bottom line in the red. The ideal scenario would be to have a lower goal and reaching upwards and above. Obviously, that is not happening fast enough. With all the extra feature 4PM planned to introduce over the course of the campaign- specialty inks, custom seals and tuck texturing, one would wonder why 4PM would take the risk and set the funding goal to the minimum.

Here's how 4PM describe the situation in terms of costing:

Fourth, on Christmas Eve, the Postal Regulatory Commission voted to hike the cost of sending letters, magazines, and packages by about six percent, starting Jan 26. Business groups are already howling over the above-inflation increases.This is unfortunate for projects launched before Dec 24 but one that is beyond almost anyone's control and hence, a higher funding goal is a good contingency.

Having said that, 4PM did the right thing by communicating and getting feedback from backers about the proposed options. Although not a popular choice, backers were able to vote for the deck colour they prefer for the relaunch.

Also, I applaud 4PM's choice to maintain the quality and their vision for the LEGACY deck. Not easy but at the same time, backers do share in the same vision and want to get their hands on this beautifully designed playing cards.

A decision to relaunch the LEGACY project will only hurt 4PM's reputation and trying to win backers trust (especially early backers) will be challenging. With more than 20 days to go, 4PM should give it a go and start focusing on social media marketing and maybe start introducing stretched goals to fund the extras and at the same time generate interest.

This classy deck will be printed by USPCC. Currently (if no relaunch) available in two colours- red and blue, the LEGACY deck will be Bicycle branded. Pledges starts from $23 for a pair of LEGACY deck. The first deck is due out to the backers by August 2014.

I am a backer and I want to see this project succeed! Fingers crossed.

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