Getting Creative: Penguin echoes new book in digital media experience

Evocative literature transports readers to another world, to another time. As they flip pages, the mind conjures the sights and sounds contained within. Readers of And the Mountains Echoed from Khaled Hosseini, however, are given an aural and visual assist with “The Echo Project.” Created for Penguin Books, the experience is an interactive companion to […]

Evocative literature transports readers to another world, to another time. As they flip pages, the mind conjures the sights and sounds contained within. Readers of And the Mountains Echoed from Khaled Hosseini, however, are given an aural and visual assist with “The Echo Project.” Created for Penguin Books, the experience is an interactive companion to the book, offering video, audio and photographic content for every page of the book based on suggestions from fans.

THE BRIEF

Rather than focusing simply on the launch, creative agency Dare suggested a longer play. “We recommended that Penguin focus on the soft copy launch,” says André Louis, director of planning at Dare. The strategy was to get Hosseini fans to influence those who buy a few books a year. “In essence, we’ve created a value exchange: avids get to co-create and live a more immersive book experience; casual readers get the ‘DVDextras’ that go along with the paperback.”

THE PROCESS

With 402 pages of potential content, Dare had to build something that could handle unexpected suggestions from readers. “ We read and re-read to understand its themes, and recurring imagery,” says Craig Ferguson, art director at Dare, noting it was built in HTML5 so that it could be supported on tablet, desktop and mobile devices. “For some pages, we could feel Hosseini’s intent with a dramatic line or vivid scene. Other times we would have a collective question mark about a piece of Persian culture, geography or mythology that we felt others might have and that would dictate our direction.”

Getting Creative
Canadian Tire’s Ice Truck
Range Rover races the sun
The Walking Dead Chop Shop

Ian Barr, Dare’s VP social and innovation, says the project was also a way to keep the book fresh in the months before the paperback was released. After the hard copy came out, celebrity contributors—which included CBC personalities Jian Ghomeshi (Q) and author Will Ferguson (419, Happiness)—made their page suggestions.

“With each new influencer and as key milestones are hit, it gives Penguin a reason to communicate with the media and its channel partners. Our execution has turned what would normally have been a two month launch into a year’s worth of topical, and interesting content connections.”

FLEXIBILITY WAS KEY

Most of the pages were created by Dare with reader suggestions receive4d through the Echo Project site. “We weren’t sure what type of content our external contributors would want to bring to life,” says Chris Obergfell, associate CD at Dare. “Some had very specific ideas about what the page should be or what they saw in their minds, and some chose a page but left it completely open for us to develop on their behalf,” adds Ferguson. “In a few extraordinary cases, a contributor gave us a finished, interactive page, built to spec, ready to be dropped in place.”

The Echo Project from Dare Toronto on Vimeo.

This story first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Marketing, available on newsstands and on your iPad.

Brands Articles

How to offer a better in-store experience (Column)

Curation, media planning and disruptive design drive loyalty, product engagement

Target speeds up Canadian exit

Retailer plans to wind up stores by mid April

Why marketers should push forward, not pull back

In today's economy, slashing ad budgets can mean lost sales and lost opportunities

Simons selects Cossette as agency partner for expansion

Agency to help Quebec retailer build brand awareness outside its home province

Future Shop stores closing, some converting to Best Buys

Closure will result in the loss of 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time jobs

CMOs want the ‘brand’ back in branded content

At IAB Engage, marketers for Molson, Kraft, Cara Foods talk branded content strategy

Airbnb signs deal to sponsor 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Online community is the Games' first alternative accommodations sponsor

Grey Canada gets a shot at Tequila Herradura

Brown-Forman brand awards digital CRM and below-the-line duties to WPP shop