Potato Salad Kickstarter – Crowd-funding Campaign Raises Close to 5,000 Times It’s Goal


There has been a lot of talk about potato salad lately. Not because it’s summer time and everyone is planning their dishes for weekend barbecues. We’re talking about close to $50,000 potato salad. The Potato Salad Kickstarter campaign has made the news quite a few times this week. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding network. So what’s all the craze over potato salad about?

The campaign was started by Zack Danger Brown of Columbus, Ohio with an initial goal of $10. Brown had potato salad on his mind and realized that he had never made it before. So, a light bulb went off and he thought it would be fun to start a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. Brown simply states, “Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet”. His straight forwardness makes the whole thing hilarious. However, this joke is actually a genius marketing stunt and here is why.

The Success of the Potato Salad Kickstarter

The idea was launched on July 3rd, a day before a huge US national holiday famous for picnics and barbecues which almost always includes potato salad. During holiday weekends people have more down time to surf the internet for interesting and humorous content. So his timing was perfect.

The ridiculousness of it has intrigued the interest of supporters all around the world. Most people said they had supported it to see if they would really get the bite of potato salad they were promised if they pledged at least $5 or more.

Crowd-funding makes people feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. I think to those who have pledged, it would be fun to have had contributed to the most expensive bowl of potato salad ever.

Brown was short and to the point. He was able to get his message across. What’s more simple than “I’m making potato salad”?

I have to be honest, the photo he used made my mouth water. How you present your brand is so important. The image he choose was very eye catching.

How much potato salad can one make?

While Zack Danger Brown was able to raise almost 5,000 times more of his original goal he may have just created a problem for himself. How is he going to fulfill all of his pledges? What is he going to do with all of the money? He mentioned that he would have a potato salad party and the whole internet is invited. For lesser pledges he’ll send thank you cards and say your name as he makes the salad. He’s making imprinted hats and printed t-shirts. He’ll carve your name in a potato and he is writing haiku’s about potato salad! You can get a photo of him making the salad too. He also mentioned that he his trying to look for ways to put the money to good which seems like the most logical and ethical thing to do.


What can we learn about advertising from this potato salad adventure:

  • When you keep things simple they can go a long way.
  • A little humor is always a good way to keep your audience enthused.
  • Timing your promotional campaign is essential.
  • Choose eye-catching printed advertising materials that will make your client’s mouth water.

Would you ever make a pledge to something like this? Do you think Kickstarter should have allowed this type of campaign? Since Brown started this, other’s have tried to pull off the same stunt. What do you think those people will need to do to be as successful as the original Potato Salad Kickstarter?  Why do you think it took off?
Do you have an Idea for a Fundraising Campaign?

54 thoughts on “Potato Salad Kickstarter – Crowd-funding Campaign Raises Close to 5,000 Times It’s Goal

  1. Crowd funding is great! Went to a presentation by Funded By Me a Swedish crowd funding company to learn how it works. The system is exactly what’s described in your article. Mainly private investors pay small amounts of money and get something in return.

    An acquaintance of mine did it. Talked to her about it, not least since she got more than she asked for. Not $50,000 though

    There is a catch with it which is that you have to pay for a professional video to be shot and devote a lot of time to work on getting investors. So if you include what you could earn if you didn’t devote your time to getting crowd funding it comes down to an investment of around $7,000 to get people to invest in your idea. Have to admit that before I knew that, I was more positive to crowd funding than I am now for the simple reason that the majority of people who try it don’t get $7,000:-)
    Catarina recently posted…Can you lead multicultural groups spread around the world?My Profile

  2. It’s hard to believe “the whole internet” is invited to such a crazy event!

    What a hilarious thing to do: make a huge bowl of potato salad.

    I think the guy bit off more than he could chew (no pun intended) and created so much more work for himself.

    But hey, he raised a lot of money, so I guess it’s only fair that he give some of it back.
    Lorraine Reguly recently posted…“RISKY ISSUES” IS OUT!!! (+ I have a new site!)My Profile

  3. Gosh!!! when I clicked on your Post to read it – I was expecting a recipe for potato salad!! Still not a bad way to collect money for a good cause…Although he doesn’t seem to know what he’s going to do with the money!!

  4. You have to love this story. It’s so silly and perfect. When I first read about this I had to keep looking to make sure I was reading it properly. It captures what makes things popular on social media. Accessible ideas, interactive, a sense of the ridiculous and of course, timing. 🙂
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Slow and ExpensiveMy Profile

  5. This is hilarious. Just hilarious. Who would have thunk it? It’s amazing how many people are turning to crowd funding for projects (very serious ones and not so serious, like this one…). Great article!


  6. It certainly has become popular lately. Apparently a lot of people are willing to invest a little money without any promise of getting anything. It’s a lot more honest than the old scams where someone advertised that you could win something but didn’t give any details and people contributed anyway. It boggles my mind.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Confidence and How to Get ItMy Profile

  7. Crowd-funding is an interesting concept. It’s a good mechanism for people to fund projects people are interested in, but aren’t drawing the limited corporate and other support money available. I don’t have personal experience with it, but expect it is also a fair bit of work. On the down side, I’ve seen more and more frivolous and self-serving campaigns pop up. The potato salad campaign points out that side of it and I’m not sure I find it as funny as your other readers, especially when more legitimate campaigns struggled to raise less money than it has. I will be interested to hear what Zack Danger Brown does with all the money and how he handles the potato salad making.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Wandering Through GastownMy Profile

  8. Amazing what can happen when your audience is the entire world. Who knew there was so many people interested in a bite of potato salad. Very funny. Glad to hear he is going to use the money for a good cause. Maybe the food bank (Feeding America) would be a good idea as they can turn $1 into $6.
    Tim recently posted…I’m NOT Buying ItMy Profile

  9. I agree this is ridiculous. The money spent to make potato salad could have been used to more worthy cause. I am not sure who I am more disappointed in, Kickstarter or the people who contributed to potato salad.

  10. Hi Arleen, I was just today talking to a friend about how simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I got a new phone and needed a cover and the shops have all these fancy covers with designs, but what appealed to me most was a simple black cover with nothing written on design. He got the formula right.
    Welli recently posted…Lessons from Brazil 2014My Profile

  11. It’s funny to see promotions like this one and great to see people go mad over potato salad. I wonder if setting a limit would’ve stopped the madness for him or if Zack really wanted this to happen. Regardless, I’m interested to see how this plays out.
    Carl recently posted…Korea Burn: Welcome HomeMy Profile

  12. This completely baffles me! I wonder if we all have a little too much time on our hands, and too much money in our pockets, to make something like this happen. On the other hand, I think it’s hilarious, and you’re right that we can use these points in our own marketing efforts. I appreciate people with a sense of humor and adventure, and I think he can redeem the whole thing by using the money for a good cause.
    Meredith Wouters recently posted…“Summer in a Glass” Lemon Iced Green TeaMy Profile

  13. Hi Arleen; I’m sure people are trying to copy him, but I doubt anyone else will achieve the perfect storm he did. Keep it simple is one of those things we can never be reminded of too often. and i sometimes wonder that even with help from sighted friends that I may be missing opportunities because of not being able to craft or fully participate in the development of visual images for my site. will continue to do my best with help from my friends, but i wonder. have you ever had a campaign catch on like his did? thanks for the education, max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…using click to tweet adding google business pages and finding a pinterest work aroundMy Profile

      • Hi Arleen; I must confess that my indiegogo campaign is no where near that successful. but i did have something happen this weekend that i thought was outside my abilities. I entered the online business superhero summit contest. You know how these things work its all about your network. well i figured with hundreds of people trying to win and many of them with larger networks i didn’t have a chance. I went from entering so i could watch the hangouts to shocked at being in the top ten to disbelief at being in the top five only to start thinking i could win and then today i did. finished in third but still got some cool training and a one on one with ryan levesque that adrienne said she is jealous of. although i did have some trouble with trying to claim my prize live. if adrienne hadn’t been there i don’t think they would have given it to me because you had to take part in a chat on a chat system that wouldn’t work with my screen reader. so not only did i win but they all know it was a blind guy who won. yay team ivey etall. hope it was okay to share since it was campaign related. 🙂 enjoy your weekend, max
        maxwell ivey recently posted…First listings first big sale and first hard lessonsMy Profile

  14. I agree with many others that this is so hilarious if not just downright silly. I would’ve never even entertained the thought about starting a campaign for creating a dish…I’m not sure why I would need to? And now what is he going to do with all that money? I do believe that humor, creativity and originality is attractive and probably what made this so successful. I’d like to figure out a way to embrace those qualities in something a little more legitimate, with a bigger plan in place in case I raised that much money!
    Pamela Heady recently posted…Peach and Jalapeño BBQ SauceMy Profile

  15. Hey Arleen,

    I’ve actually seen this news everywhere and I thought it was really random but very a hilarious story. I also agree with the simple title with an eye catching photo, I guess less is always more 🙂

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