Changing Perceptions & Elevating Conversations around Pleasure
Buckminster Fuller once said, ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete’.
In many cases, that ‘existing reality’ lies amidst the taboos and stigmas associated with sex and personal pleasure — instead of being cherished as an integral, fun and empowering part of our lives.
Fortunately the ‘new model’ of empowering pleasure takes that stigma head-on and adds to the sea of change we are already witnessing today. Be that in Books: 50 Shades, Lean In; Movies: Nymphomaniac, Cabaret Desire; Campaigns: #LoveWins, #HeForShe, #ILookLikeAnEngineer; or Sex-positive leaders: Esther Perel, Cindy Gallop, Jane Thomas and many others. We can already see change coming, and coming fast.
This is where we hope to play our part by encouraging more open conversations, generating more awareness, and nurturing mainstream support for the ‘new model’. As with all things MysteryVibe, we like to keep things simple:
- Have a genuine message that resonates with people
- Get conversations started in a positive rational manner, and
- Engage with mainstream platforms to reach the wider audience
With this in mind, we began #MysteryCampaign — as a small social experiment on Thunderclap during the Easter holidays. Thunderclap is a crowd-voice platform where people can rally their social media support behind a cause by broadcasting that message to all their followers at the same time — thereby creating a ‘thunderous clap’. It had been previously used very successfully by the likes of World Humanitarian Day, Comic Relief and Firefox but never before by a pleasure products company. Our message was this:
“Show the world we want pleasure to be empowering. Let’s rewrite it at #DisruptNY with #MysteryCampaign”
Soon after launching our campaign it quickly became apparent that people had been yearning for someone to start a movement like this.
We got so much support in such a short period that we felt truly humbled and overwhelmed. Our beloved blogger friends led from the front and are the main reason it took off as rapidly as it did. Our friends followed suit and did what we never expected — sharing our message on their personal social media for their friends, colleagues and family to see. Women & men from 6 continents backed our message with their social voice and we reached 1m+ people on 06 May during our public launch at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York.
Having witnessed what we could achieve simply by putting it out there, we realised we could do so much more, create impactful precedents and pave the way for others to do greater things next. Thus started our crowdfunding campaign.
This is where BORN.com stood out from all others. Not only did they love what we were creating, they shared our vision for a more liberal world and featured us on their homepage as a staff-pick — something no other crowdfunding platform had done before for a pleasure product campaign.
The press coverage that followed was unprecedented — FastCompany kicked it off with a full length feature, and the mainstream media followed: TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Glamour and Elite Daily to name just a few.
But what was really exciting was the backing we got from the public through heart-warming emails, messages and pre-orders. Within 6 weeks we had exceed both our targets €50k & 500 backers and won our first design award.
As awareness of our campaign grew, we started to get invited to leading conferences to share our story. Pioneers Vienna, NOAH Berlin, DLD NY & Munich, TOA Berlin, RISE HongKong and many others lent us their platforms to help spread the message. Within a month of our launch, we got selected as a PathFounders #Top100 hottest early-stage European startup at the TheEuropas and #Top40 to Pitch at RISE. And it wasn’t just the mainstream conferences that attracted us. We were equally thrilled to support great sex-positive events like Eroticon, Sexhibition and CatalystCon.
We spent more time in the Tech / mainstream events simply because they benefitted more from these conversation starters, while the sex-focussed events already had great people taking the lead. As with all stories there are hidden heros who do stuff in the background to make it look easy; in our case that hero was Rameet who shared our passion and reached out to his friends to get us the introductions any startup can only dream of. That’s how we got our first invite; that’s also how we got our first talk — and everything else followed on from there.
Staying with friends, Google Campus then hosted us on their centre-stage, giving our oft-brushed under the carpet topic more mainstream credibility. Our incredible partners, Seymourpowell, Fueled & CondimentJunkie, all took the stage with us in front of a packed audience and shared their passion behind creating MysteryVibe with the ‘Why, How and What’ story.
Speaking to the various organisers we realised the bigger issues that concerned them and why they were keen to help us get our voice heard. There is a direct correlation between societal suppression, human frustrations and violence. If, through all these conversations we could help make our societies a bit more open, a bit more accepting, we might be able to contribute to a happier, safer society and have more fun along the way.
Most importantly, that message resonated hugely with the wider public who crossed our paths during those trips. It seemed like they had been waiting for someone to take the lead and start the conversations so they could join in feeling comfortable being who they are.
It was incredible to witness what happens when people are not afraid of being judged — what they want to share, or questions they want to ask. Extend that and you can imagine the power of those conversations in our everyday lives — teenage sex-education, early friendships, long-term relationships. A life away from shame and guilt; an empowered journey full of possibilities and fun.
“Successful disruption does not destroy, rather it creates a shift in mental models.”
For us, this is just the beginning of #MysteryCampaign with a lot more to come. What started as a simple idea to create beautiful products and make people smile, has evolved into a movement which nurtures and elevates conversations in a mature & respectful way.
Your Pleasure, Personalised.