Michael Roopenian, an industrial designer from Brooklyn, NY, created a gorgeous set of wooden keyboard adhesives called Engrain, and released pictures to the public. “The early prototypes of the Engrain attracted a great deal of attention in the design and tech community when they hit the blogosphere in 2011 from my thesis.”
Praise came from some of the biggest tech and design blogs in the world, including WIRED, TrendHunter, Core77, and Ubergizmo.
Two years later, in March of 2013, he launched the Engrain project launched on Kickstarter. Though it was ultimately funded, the project was not nearly as successful as one would expect following such widespread media attention. While other projects with similar exposure have often funded into the six-digit range, the Engrain project closed with only $14,788.
Perhaps even more impressive is a project called the Bent Basket, a unique, beautifully designed carrying basket for bicycles. When it hit the blogosphere in 2010 it was enviously received, garnering publications from TechCrunch, WIRED, FastCompany, SwissMiss, NotCot, DesignBoom, TrendHunter, Design Milk, and others.
Now destined for greatness, the Bent Basket was launched on Kickstarter In February 2012 with a goal of $100,000. Thirty days later, with only 12% of the goal committed, the Bent Basket project failed.
Conversely, Amber Rix’s Precision Dice project was fully funded less than two days after launch and ended with $153,328 without much media attention at all. In fact the only notable press we’ve found is an article written by TechCrunch on December 14, 2012, after the project had already raised $32,701.
From these examples we begin to perceive a dichotomy between market demand and what we call “media demand”. While the two certainly can overlap and affect each other, they are completely separate variables and may respond differently when presented identical stimuli. Media attention does not guarantee sales, and sales do not guarantee media attention, though upon first reflection one might think they do.