Editor’s note: Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and blogs at Techspressive. Each column will look at crowdfunded products that have either met or missed their funding goals. Follow him on Twitter @rossrubin.
The mere mention of those particular articles of clothing that protect our private bits from coming into contact with our clothing (or perhaps vice versa) has long been enough to drive children into hysterics. As adults, the decision to abstain from them invokes the belligerence of a commando operation. Despite the choices of boxers, briefs, bikini bottoms and beyond, however, some still feel there is ample room for improvement. To prove this, some have been willing to break with convention and actually put videos of people in their underwear on the Internet.
Backed: Thinx. The three women behind Thinx underwear spent nearly three years developing their product. Accepting their ingenuity is easy as they get through their nearly three-minute campaign video using a number of euphemisms to avoid directly mentioning menstruation, the main inspiration for raising the panty ante. By incorporating moisture-wicking and a dry outer layer into a microbial fabric, Thinx is designed to offer a woman protection against leakage and stains during that period when she might have need and to look good regardless of what time of the month it is. To the latter point, the New York-based project owners are not beyond dropping trou to show off the Hiphugger design. It’s one of four variations that include a lacy limited edition by twin designers Naven, whom you’re probably talking about right now. Funds from backers flowed freely, and the campaign beat its goal of $50,000 with nearly $15,000 to spare.
Whacked: Snowballs. Addressing a male concern regarding bodily emissions, Joshua Shoemake came up with the idea of Snowballs, “the cooling underwear for conceiving men,” a year after the birth of his daughter — a celebrated event for which he and his wife had spent much time and effort. After enduring the Sperm und Drang of infertility treatments, a doctor suggested that he apply cooling to his scrotum and get tested for a varicocele, an enlarged blood vessel in the testicles that can lead to raising their temperature and affecting semen. The proof was in the procreation.
Adding relief to the boxer brief, Snowballs was inspired by the difficulty that Shoemake faced cooling the center of his potency production for up to two hours per day. The recent candidate for a World’s Best Dad mug sought to create underwear that was “as close to nature as possible” (a redundant requirement in at least one sense). To fight against temperate testes, Snowballs accommodate a gel pouch that can cool the cojones for up to 30 minutes. However, despite the effort put into an animated campaign video, something other than oval organs were put on ice. The campaign cleared just over half of its $20,000 goal.
Whacked: Jockgods. New Yorker Sebastian Barone asks, “How well do you really know your underwear?” Were you once close but just don’t talk as often as you used to since you started going to therapy? Like the other undergarments featured on Kickstarter, Jockgods undies seek to be comfortable and stylish. And like many other Kickstarter projects in general, they are to be made in those North American states united. However, unlike Snowballs and Thinx, Jockgods is available for everyone. Barone takes advantage of his experience shooting underwear campaigns for 10 years by breaking into a steamy video in which two neighbors eagerly kiss and caress each other while keeping their underwear on. The video juxtaposes seductive glances with the insertion of keys into locks, which wins it the award for Least Subtle Metaphor Ever in a Crowdfunding Video.
With the absence of undergarment deities in major mythologies, Jockgods failed to attract divine intervention. However, it did attract the intervention of its campaign owner, which ended the campaign less than two weeks in. At that time, only five backers had pledged a total of $130 of the $22,000 goal.
Backed: HELUX Gear. If you’re searching for a personal underwear mantra, you could do worse than the one of Greg Donmayer. The Harrisburg, Penn., resident lays it on the line: “I believe the need exists for men’s underwear that is both comfortable and functional.” Indeed, instead of salacious appeals, the clothing designer takes bampaign video viewers on a relatively cerebral tour through the history of men’s underwear starting with the boxer and evolving past the boxer brief. Donmayer has addressed the oft-problematic fly with a new design that interweaves two pieces of fabric reinforced by elastic for what he claims gives men easy access to the room they need. Backers provided plenty of elbow room to accommodate for other body parts as the campaign finished up with nearly double its $2,500 goal.