Friday, June 20, 2008

Joining the Digital Promotion Dots

Thanks to the guys at Book2Book we were alerted to a promotion Nick Harkaway's debut novel 'The Gone-Away World'. The promotion is being handled by creative digital marketing agency, Hyperlaunch and the result is certainly different.

Judge for yourself

At first it took us time to work out where everything was. What the screen was for? Why the big desk? Why the screen was sliding all over the place? Our browser was also configured to block those annoying pop up windows so we had a few challengers there. After a very short while we found the hidden material; interviews in the TV screen, links to his My Space, twitter, face book spaces and his wikipedia entry and his blog. The hidden content continued; a biography behind his photo, the voiceless dragon hiding in the dark , the characters hidden in the filing cabinet, the podcast in the phone, the links in the PC, the recipe in the sandwich (we nearly missed that one). Tthere was probably much more we didn’t find and in some ways it was like trying to find hidden treasure, we just wish there was a clapometer or score board that we could judge our success by. ‘You scored 9 out of ten and win a 10% discount to purchase the book!

Ok what was the point? Who is this aimed at? The campaign’s aims are stated as, ‘to drive awareness and sales for 'The Gone-Away World', is based around an official website (
), supported by online PR and social network marketing.’

Well it’s different! We, as always, fully support experimentation and the new but we are somewhat taken aback by the level of experimentation to sell what after all is a traditional book. If the content is so cutting edge to warrant a cutting edge campaign , why not create a digital content experience and multi media novel? It’s a multi media promotion for a single dimensional product. If I buy the ebook will I get all the extras? It was also interesting to view the first 57 pages via the widget on Random House’s web site, but confusing as there appeared to be two hardbacks with different prices. Maybe we are just thick or simply missed something?

Joining up dots is a hard thing when experimenting and it’s often easier to ring fence the experiment to protect the standard approach. But why not use the widget and actually show the content on the promotion? After all it’s probably the only thing that isn’t used on the site ,or perhaps it was hidden behind something we couldn’t see. When we go to the Random House site there is a clear lack of extra material that is obviously available. There is no interview even though there is a space for it and there are several on the promotional site. At they proudly list all the Random House author sites and blogs but alas Nick’s isn’t on the list.

We wish them well and hope Nick reaches his audience, but would suggest that the devil, as always, is in the detail and joining dots remains as always the challenge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great piece of eye candy, agreed. But as a colleague reliably informs me "it doesn't work on my PC (there's no flash plugin for 64-bit flash) and it's severely in breach of DDA, being completely inaccessible for diabled users. And being pure flash, it won't rank highly in search engines."

There are indeed many dots to join for publishers!