In one of the more nihilistic brand stunts ever performed, the card game Cards Against Humanity raised $100,573 on Black Friday and spent the money digging a huge, pointless hole in rural Illinois. They livestreamed the whole thing and dug until the money ran out. Then, this weekend, they filled the hole back in. That's it. End of the article. You can go now. But wait, why did they dig that hole? No real reason in particular, they claim, though they did mention it was in part because 2016 has been going so well.
Cards Against Humanity
You won't understand this anti-Trump ad, but a lot of gamers will. A billboard went up in Florida this month with a cartoon image of the Republican presidential nominee yelling at a desktop computer, along with a super cryptic headline: "Donald Trump mains Hanzo and complains about team comp in chat."
Recently, we wrote about Jeffery DaSilva of the Sid Lee Collective and how he created an off-label Trump Against Humanity expansion that got yuuuge. Well, now Cards Against Humanity has gone and released its own official Trump expansion, but only to the first 10,000 people who claimed it, and it's already sold out. We got in touch with Max Temkin, one of the creators of Cards Against Humanity, to ask him about this latest stunt and learned that it actually had nothing to do with the Sid Lee expansion. In fact, it's less of an expansion than a preparation kit to help America survive a potential Trump presidency.
The Sid Lee Collective, an agency incubator for Sid Lee's non-commercial creative projects, took a few choice Donald Trump quotes and transformed them into an unofficial Cards Against Humanity expansion pack—Trump Against Humanity: A Party Game About a Horrible Person. Seriously. You couldn't make this shit up, and neither did they.
Cards Against Humanity recently bought a Picasso. And it's now asking 150,000 people to vote whether to donate it to a museum or laser-cut it into 150,000 pieces. And I'm one of those people.
Cards Against Humanity always does something fun on Black Friday. This year, it sold boxes of bullshit—actual bullshit—to 30,000 people, many of whom were surprised to receive a box of bullshit. It was pretty clear on the site that the offer was $6 for "literal feces, from an actual bull," and an FAQ clarified in the clearest way possible that there was nothing in the box except bullshit (no hidden cards like the one inside the box lid of The Biggest Blackest Box collection). Still, a surprising number of conspiracy theorists still thought perhaps there would be a surprise hidden within the poop.
Cards Against Humanity's promotions are as bitingly sarcastic as the game itself—whether they're charging more for the game on Black Friday, experimenting with a "Pay what you want" model (which outright insulted anyone who chose to pay less than cost) or teaming with Netflix just this week for an already sold out House of Cards pack. But the card game's recent "12 Days of Holiday Bullshit" promotion was truly something special. In December, 100,000 people paid $12 for 12 gifts from CAH, with no idea what they'd get. They sold out in less than six hours. And then, incredibly, they really did give 100,000 people 12 gifts each (and then some). AdFreak caught up with Ben Hantoot, one of the founders of CAH and the design force behind Holiday Bullshit, for a postmortem.
With so many clickbait headlines flooding social media these days—promising to blow your mind, make you cry or change your life forever—have we reached a point where people will literally believe anything?
UPDATE: The sales figures are in, and CAH says it did just as well on Black Friday this year as last year—i.e., the price hike didn't hurt sales. But then, they did much better on the Saturday than last year.