Pointless Digging

28 November 2016 | Lloyd Hughes

Black Friday is pretty much a retail PR frenzy, with each and every brand looking to get in on the act.

One of the most ground-breaking in recent years was the Amazon drone announcement. At the time, I dismissed it as a brilliant PR stunt – it got blanket coverage, dominating the news agenda on probably the busiest shopping day of the year when every brand is fighting tooth and nail to be seen or heard. ‘Drones delivering presents? Don’t be bloody silly’ was my initial assessment. However, in the period since, Amazon seems to have persevered with it, either prolonging the PR factor and milking it for all it’s worth, or genuinely looking at using drones to fly deliveries. It remains to be seen which one will actually be the case. 

This year though, one stunt in particular caught my eye. Cards Against Humanity, which bills itself as a party game for horrible people (and is genuinely funny – if you’re a horrible person), has been crowd funding a pointless hole.

A ‘live’ stream of its ‘Holiday Hole’ has a digger doing what diggers do best. People, despite supposedly being aware that there is literally no point to the hole (as pointed out in Cards Against Humanity’s FAQs) have allegedly donated over $100,000 dollars to cover its costs. Quite how some blokes (or ladies) in a digger (even if it’s a big digger) can cost that much over the space of a couple of days is quite beyond me.

Looking at the donation feed, it seems people are dropping $1,000 dollars at a time. However, having checked over the course of 2 days, the live stream of the hole being dug looks suspiciously like the same feed I watched yesterday, and the donation amount hasn’t increased, with the same donations listed as being ‘1 hour ago’, the same as the day before.

Now this seeming page freeze may have been because the digging has stopped, despite claims on the website that ‘as long as money keeps coming in, we’ll keep digging.’ However, I can’t help but suspect that Cards Against Humanity has received nowhere near the amount of money that it claims to have, or potentially any at all – as I can’t see a link to a donation page.

So, while this is a giant hole-sized PR stunt, which has been reported on by the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph and various international press, it’s also probably not as big as it seems. Is it literally just a website that suggests a hole is being dug? In which case, it’s a much cheaper stunt than it seems and one that’s achieved fantastic PR coverage. It also flies in the face of the disapproval of people saying the money should have been donated to charity.

Tip of the cap to you, Cards Against Humanity.

If it turns out they have actually dug the hole though…maybe they shouldn’t go that far next time. A website is much more inexpensive alternative.