This past Black Friday, the so-called party game for horrible people Cards Against Humanity had a hilariously bizarre deal: Give them $5 and get absolutely nothing in return.
In a blog post on Sunday Cards Against Humanity’s founders revealed that this stunt made the company $71,145, with 11,248 giving $5, and 1,119 people giving more than that.* One guy even gave $100. All for literally nothing.
“This promotion was a huge risk—we had no idea if it would get a positive or negative response, or any response at all,” Cards Against Humanity co-creator Max Temkin tells Business Insider.
Temkin also says that while the long-term impact of this sale remains to be seen, traffic to the Cards Against Humanity site has been “very healthy this weekend.”
“The best way for me to make sense of that response is that these kinds of pranks are like an improv scene where the public is our scene partner. We create a funny setup, and they make it real,” Temkin says.
But wait, there’s a punchline here: how Cards Against Humanity used the cash.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about how we would spend the money from Black Friday, and we’re happy to announce that this time, we kept it all. Here’s what we bought,” Cards Against Humanity writes in the blog post.
While Cards Against Humanity actually has a history of making big donations to charitable causes, this time, they used the cash more selfishly, splitting it evenly among its 17 employees for about $4,185 each.
It then goes on to break down what employees actually bought with their windfalls.
“It’s been really fun seeing everyone react to our employee’s shopping list. We go out of our way to hire generous, funny, well-rounded, and diverse people, and they did an amazing job with their holiday spending (which we dropped on them pretty suddenly as the Black Friday promotion started blowing up),” Temkin says.
Lots of Cards Against Humanity employees bought Sony PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Wii U video game consoles. Others put money into savings, bought gifts for others, including a $1,000 car, or paid some of their student loans.
But the real highlights include a “custom suit of men’s armor” ($1,500), two front row tickets to the Chicago Cubs home opener ($1,058), and a 24-karat-gold YVA vibrating massager with “eight pleasure settings” ($3,120).
Finally, and the absolute best part: Despite the gag of Cards Against Humanity keeping the money for themselves, several Cards Against Humanity employees actually gave in the hundreds or thousands to charities and nonprofits including Planned Parenthood, DonorsChoose.org, and the American Refugee Committee.
“We’ve been doing these kinds of jokes for a few years now, and I think the key thing that we’re learning is to trust our gut a little more than we usually do. If something makes us laugh, it will probably resonate with other people as well,” Temkin says.
Correction, Nov. 30, 2015: Due to an editing error, this post initially misstated that Cards Against Humanity announced the earnings of their stunt on Monday.