Fans have been known to create fan clubs, wait in line for hours to see their favorite stars, and even dress in costume to show their appreciation for a TV show. But the ‘Bronies,’ the unlikely cult-fan group of the My Little Pony franchise, have created the first ever fan-funded national television commercial. The ad was made, paid for, and distributed by the Brony Thank You Fund, a charitable arm of the group that ‘gives thanks to the show [My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic] through charity [and] exists to promote and collect donations to worth charitable organizations, especially those centered around children.’
Who are the bronies? When the My Little Pony franchise returned to mainstream media in 2010 with My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, the show started to gain a following from males in their 20s and 30s. The fan group named themselves ‘bronies,’ and have evolved into a fervent, loyal, and ever-growing ‘herd;’ according to a ‘herd census,’ bronies now account for 4-6.8% of the US population, an estimated 7-12.4M people. The group promotes tolerance and acceptance as their main mantras, as indicated by the altruistic Brony Thank You Fund.
The 30 second spot from the Brony Thank You Fund not only thanks The Hub and Hasbro for the show, but also implores other viewers and bronies-alike to donate to the Marine Toys For Tots campaign. Where the commercial lacks polish, it makes up for it in heart. Four-hundred bronies donated to the making of the ad in a campaign on Indiegogo, raising over $16K to have it run on the network. According to the bronies, the commercial accomplishes two things:
Even if it only runs a single time, the ad will be a big shout-out to the folks who create the magic, and an indication to Hasbro that we’re out here, have money, and want the show to continue to be produced.
The secondary goal will be to put a positive image of the Brony community into the culture. The intent is to choose representative bronies for the ad who run in the face of the brony stereotype. So, for example, we’d love to have an active-duty brony stationed overseas read one of the thank-yous, or a doctor, or a businesswoman behind a desk. The underlying message is that bronies are everywhere, everycolor and sex, in every walk of life. Not just this guy.
The bronies, although often ridiculed for their sub-culture, show the power of a connected, dedicated fan-base. If only all fan groups were motivated to ‘thank’ a brand for it’s impact on their lives, as well as be inspired to donate to charity on the brand’s behalf.
Watch the spot below: