We’re Not Running Any Ads for Bullet Universe
This will be my first personal blog in a long time. It might be a little soapboxy, but I hope that you’ll stay on and hear me out, and maybe even leave me a comment with your thoughts at the end.
In 2 weeks, we’re going to launch the new Kickstarter project, Bullet Universe, which includes reprints of all the Bullet projects, as well as 2 new expansions.
A modern board game Kickstarter project, even one that’s for a fairly well-known brand, like Bullet, puts a lot of work into advertising. Typically we spend anywhere from 15-25% of a project’s budget on ads and direct marketing.
Ads can be effective. At the same time, I hate that I’m pushing all this money towards big corporations like Facebook, Twitter/X, and Reddit, which are actively making the world a worse place for all of us.
I discussed these feelings with the team, and they were met with agreement all around. After those talks, we decided to try a different marketing tactic this time—one that I’m really excited to share with you.
We’re taking all of the money that we would have spent on ads for Bullet and using it to commission a wide variety of independent artists to draw and share our original characters.
We see a ton of advantages to this approach:
- First and foremost, we’re supporting the artists themselves, who can use the money and deserve the opportunity.
- We’ll get to expand the world of Bullet with new pieces of art, which may eventually find themselves in artbooks, promos, or other merchandise. Exciting!
- By injecting a large number of commissions into the art ecosystem, we can help more amateurs achieve professional status and live their dreams.
- By working with artists and supporting them, we’ll meet fans who are excited to support and share their content. This will create more chatter and engagement, in a more passionate community, than any normal ad can manage.
- We’ll get to work with a bunch of great artists, and maybe we’ll discover a unique style that can define one of our future games.
That said, the strategy isn’t without risks. Ads are used so widely because they’re known to be effective, and they carry a low risk relative to the cost. Art direction can also be involved and expensive. You have to get to know people and you have to work with them. But for this, our most popular property, we’ve decided to take the chance and see how it goes.
Perhaps we also got caught up in the excitement of seeing all the new art come to life. If you want to see all the other art, check out #BulletUniverse!
In an age where many publishers are turning to generative art to cut costs and accelerate production, we’re working to forge a different path that can give back to the art and board game communities and elevate both.
When Bullet launches in two weeks, I hope that you’ll join us and participate in this experiment. When you back Bullet Universe, you’ll be getting a great, award-winning game, but you’ll also be helping to support the independent art community and telling us and other publishers that this is a strategy that can work. Check the project here!
To our fellow publishers out there, I hope that you will watch and see what we can accomplish by sending our dollars to the independent art community, rather than the social media corporations. Maybe it will be the right path for you as well.
art by: TAGASAING
And to the artists out there, if you’re interested in working with us on Bullet, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!