The Three-Phase Business Plan of The Underpants Gnomes

I read this story about South Park’s Underpants Gnomes just few days ago:

The Underpants Gnomes are a community of underground gnomes who steal underpants.

The Underpants Gnomes have a three-phase business plan, consisting of:
1. Collect underpants
2. ???
3. Profit!

None of the gnomes actually know what the second phase is, and all of them assume that someone else within the organization does.

This situation can be actually quite common. Producers might try setting up a website, but lack the idea on how to get people to visit, download and eventually purchase the product.

I’m currently writing a Indie Game Marketing Plan article to gamasutra that will hopefully shed some more light in what underpants gnomes… eh, I mean game producers – can do to get from phase 2 to phase 3. Please, be patient. I let you know when the article is for you to read.

In the meantime, here are some tips to get you started in promoting your game:
– magazines (use press releases to get them to see you)
– major websites (like Java.com or apple.com – contact them directly or/and use press releases)
– news sites (like GamerShell, use press releases to get there)
– advertising (careful usage of adwords, banner advertising in sites like Game Tunnel)
– contests/nominations (e.g. Independent Games Festival)
– major download sites (e.g. download.com)
– PAD service for download sites (for example PromoSoft or Shareware Tracker)
– affiliates (by carefully choosing)
– articles/post mortems
blogs (ask for reviews)
– gaming forums (but don’t go spamming… read the site posting policies before posting)

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Take it from me, I am the underpants gnome. Its not just true of game design, its also true of anything involving making and developing a product. I design games, I ahve worked designing luggage, its the same principle. Fact is, you have to sink into development time and costs before you can hit phase 3… so

    1. Design Products/Games/Fashion/Luggage (Steal underpants)
    3. Profit!

    Filling in two is the toughest

  2. I used to work for a company where my boss told me one day as an intro to the company that our company was the answer to the gnomes question mark about profit. Because none of us had seen the episode, he then had to explain the story of this to me and another programmer. Quite entertaining. I’ve since seen the episode. The episode is a great play on the whole dot com era with business models.

Comments are closed.