'Flawless' Campaign: Bringing Sexy Marketing Back?
Quite honestly, as a consumer, I rarely see a marketing campaign for a book that excites me, or gets people talking. I understand that book publishers generally don't have the marketing budgets to support big, splashy campaigns for a single title, but as a book lover, it's difficult to see the launch of so many great books often met with a collective yawn from the general public.
One morning last week, I was at my kitchen table browsing through my Twitter feed over breakfast when I noticed a Barnes & Noble tweet promoting a free e-book offer for that day only. It was for a book called "Flawless" that I had never heard of before. I had no idea what the book was about, but thought, "I'll have to try to remember to download that later." It was free after all. If that was the first and the last I had heard of it, would I have remembered to download it that night? Maybe. Knowing my capacity for retention at the end of long work day, probably not.
On my way into work, I picked up a copy of the Metro, a free newspaper that's distributed in select cities throughout the country and worldwide. The front page looked a little different than usual (the typical design seemed off), but the main headline, about a diamond heist, quickly grabbed my attention. It didn't take long (impressive, since I had yet to have a cup of coffee) to figure out that the article and the entire front page were an advertisement for a book called "Flawless," about the world's largest diamond heist. A banner at the bottom of the page advertised the free, one-day e-book download at Barnes & Noble.
Leafing through the newspaper, I realized that the "Flawless" advertisement was actually a four-page wraparound. The other pages were filled with fun, related copy like a game of "Diamondoku" and profiles of the thieves responsible for the heist. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen such an extensive print advertisement for a single title. This is really cool, I thought. And the book sounded interesting. I immediately started contacting my fellow Nook users: "Hey, you have to download this free e-book today ..."
Once at work, a colleague who also had seen the Metro ad told me about the free e-book. He had downloaded it to his iPod Touch through Barnes & Nobles' eReader app. Another colleague who has an iPod Touch overheard us; he wanted to download it, too. And while the free e-book offer only lasted one day, our conversation about the book extended beyond that day. We now had this common interest, as if we had all gone to see the same big blockbuster movie that past weekend.
I found out from following Sterling Publishing—the publisher of "Flawless" via its Union Square Press imprint—on Twitter that the advertisement ran in the Metro in Philadelphia, New York and Boston. In New York, a street team handed out the newspaper to passers-by. I'm not sure what the campaign cost Sterling, or what that free giveaway did to encourage actual sales of this title—but I know it got people excited, it got them talking and, most importantly, it got them reading. I'd like to see more of that.