Last August, one of the most financially successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time concluded. It was a cooler called the Coolest, which was pricey but promised to contain most of what you need for a beach party. $300 backers were supposed to receive the Coolest, which would retail for $500. Then backers noticed that the product was available on Amazon’s crowdfunded products section… even though original backers from over a year ago hadn’t received theirs yet.
The Coolest caught on because it is a very impressive product: sort of a rolling beach party box. The cooler is mounted on wheels, and includes a blender for making frozen drinks, Bluetooth speakers to play some tunes at your party, and USB chargers for phone emergencies.
The whole thing runs on a rechargeable battery. That means it ran into a common problem with crowdfunded projects: creating something so unusual that they ran into manufacturing problems. Specifically, they can’t get the motor for the blender, since the factory that makes them has gone on strike and shut down.
Was this the Pebble smartwatch all over again? The parallels are interesting, since the Pebble was the highest-grossing Kickstarter campaign of all time, and the Coolest came in right behind it. Similarly, Pebble drew criticism from watchless backers when they saw that the item was on the shelves at Best Buy, but their Kickstarter rewards and preorders still hadn’t arrived.
The Verge drew this comparison, and while the delays are for different reasons, the backers are just as mad as early backers of the Pebble. Why was the company selling new coolers when they hadn’t even shipped the ones already committed to backers? The company needs money, you see. Producing coolers in real life has turned out to be expensive, and shipping thousands of 40-pound coolers even more expensive.
Even though new coolers won’t be produced for at least another month due to the strike, they decided to sell an undetermined number on Amazon Launchpad for $500 each, until Amazon shut them down earlier today.
COOLEST COOLER: 21st Century Cooler that's Actually Cooler [Kickstarter]
Backer Comments [Kickstarter]
Coolest Coolers- Most successful Kick Starter not shipping to backers [Change.org]