Sometimes it pays to stay in your seat after the final scene of a movie. If you stick around after a Pixar feature you’ll see, deep into the closing credits, a list of “production babies” born to employees in the year before the movie’s release. The credit roll for last year’s Frozen, from Disney, lasted 10 minutes and included a nod to the person in charge of “caffeination.”
But even tiny independent films may have gems in their closing credits.
Last weekend, at the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, I saw a charming three-minute short, Une Balade à la Mer (“a trip to the sea”), whose credits included the name of the financer, KissKissBankBank.
Adorable Pacman-esque logo!
The name was unfamiliar to me, but not the allusion.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1968), collected writings of the late film critic Pauline Kael.
I did a little research and learned that KissKissBankBank is a French crowdfunding site, similar to Kickstarter, that launched in 2010. The name isn’t just a clever pun: it’s also a perfect fit for a site that, unlike the more general Kickstarter, specializes in creative projects such as the film I saw.
Here’s some backstory on the name:
In 1962, after the release of Dr. No, the first James Bond movie, an Italian journalist dubbed Bond “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Pauline Kael, who took the phrase for the title of her book, explained it as “perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.” The original theme song for the 1965 Bond film Thunderball—sung by Shirley Bassey—was “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”*
Changing just one letter, KissKissBankBank says “love and money”—the twin pillars of crowdfunding—while retaining the association with movies and stardom. As a nice bonus, the company extends the verbal brand in a section called “The Stakisstics.” (If only they’d hire a native speaker—and writer—to edit the rest of the English-language content!)
The smoochy approach may be particularly useful in France, where crowdfunding is still regarded as slightly suspect. Vincent Ricordeau, KissKissBankBank’s co-founder and CEO, told Rude Baguette, a blog about French startups, that U.S. culture is “much more adapted to the crowdfunding model.” In France, he said, “if you’re a professional, and you admit that you need funding, it’s seen as a weakness.”
With humor and wordplay, KissKissBankBank overcomes the prejudice and charms the skeptics. Applause all around for a winning name!
* Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is also the title of a 2005 pulp-fiction parody starring Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle (“True Detective”) Monaghan. It has an impressive 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.