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

Jack Black skincare selects first Canadian AOR

1Milk2Sugars will share duties between its Montreal and Toronto offices

Rabba Fine Foods hires first PR and marketing agencies

Future PR and marketing efforts will focus on the retailer's ties to the community

FIFA sponsors respond to corruption scandal

Visa and Coca-Cola call for change in how world football is managed

Maille pop-up puts fresh mustard on tap

After pop-ups in Vancouver and Montreal, the brand sets up in Toronto's Pusateri's

Moet Hennessy CMO to C2-MTL: You want loyalty? Buy a dog

CMO panel discusses the future of consumer engagement at annual event

Indigo revenue improves despite fewer stores, no major hit titles

Retailer's lifestyle, paper and toys business experienced double-digit growth

Molson Coors returns as sponsor of Honda Indy Toronto

Two organizations have a history dating back to 1986

La Roche-Posay sheds light on the perils of sensitive skin

L'Oréal Canada brand enlists model Jessica Langlois to share her story