When it first launched, few people could have ever expected the Coolest Cooler to be as successful as it has been…it would have been impressive just to hit the $100,000 mark for a product whose sole purpose is to keep beverages cold at a picnic.

Currently sitting at just above the $10 million funding level, the “portable party disguised as a cooler, bringing blended drinks, music and fun to any outdoor occasion” is set to beat the popular Pebble smartwatch at its current pledge rate with just under $100,000 left to meet the Pebble’s $10,266,845 all-time Kickstarter fundraising record.

So how is it that a smartwatch that was seemingly revolutionary when it came out (some might argue that it still is), has been beaten by a beverage cooler that you would expect to be sitting next to a group of Parrot Heads sharing margaritas at an outdoor Jimmy Buffet concert?

“Regular coolers are boring, break easily and are a hassle to haul around just to carry the ice. The COOLEST cooler is 60 quarts of AWESOME packed with so much fun you’ll look for excuses to get outside more often.

Maybe you want to use the built-in ice crushing blender to whip up some margaritas or smoothies on your next boat trip or tailgate?”

Maybe you just want to always have music on hand with the waterproof bluetooth speaker or want to recharge your electronics with the built in USB charger?

Because the Coolest Cooler has all the DNA that makes up a viral story: it’s quirky, not too serious, and Kickstarter itself provides the Twitter-friendly internet party platform that anybody can virtually pull up to with a lawn chair and be a part of (BYOB tequila for the built-in blender, please).

The recent Potato Salad project is another example of this strange-but-super-welcome phenomenon:


Bunch O Balloons is yet another:


These projects make for some great internet chatter and perhaps most importantly, provide a necessary distraction from the never-ending merry-go-round of sad news items. Cat videos have had their time. So have #FAIL videos.

Yes, fun and quirky Kickstarter projects are the new cat videos ladies and gentleman.

The power of this comes from the notion that anybody can now reach into that cat video and take ‘Grumpy Cat‘ home with them with a just a couple taps from their phone…then spend the next month joking about it and being an ‘official’ part of the conversation on social media and at the office.

The success of this viral approach towards getting a product concept out into the world is huge news for product designers so long as they learn to play by the most important new Kickstarter rule:

If you have fun with it and enjoy the ride, they will come.

GrepperCoolest Cooler creator Ryan Grepper with an early prototype

You can still snag a Coolest Cooler for $185 with 3 days left to go in the campaign.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.