The Age of Flashmobs

40 orange umbrellas?  Check.
Video camera fully charged?  Check.
Note to company to wear running shoes in case we have to leg it?  Sent.
100 copies of The Age of Miracles delivered to every desk in the company?  Check.
Simon & Schuster:  We are ready to flashmob!

Three years ago we did something a bit naughty for Philippa Gregory’s advertising campaign of The White Queen.  We projected her book jacket onto The Tower of London and The Houses of Parliament.  It was exciting.  It was dangerous.  It was teetering on the edge of legality, verging on breaking local authority regulations even if it wasn’t quite breaking the law.  But for a bunch of middle-class publishers who read books, wear glasses, don’t throw litter and pay taxes… this was ANARCHY!  And it felt good.

In June on the longest day of the year, Simon & Schuster organised its first flashmob for The Age of Miracles which has been one of the most talked about debut novels of 2012.  There was the usual advertising mix of outdoor posters and traditional press but what generated the most chat was the video and photos of our entire company, clad in orange outfits, sitting in Trafalgar Square reading a copy of this brilliant novel.  Tourists took our photos.  Strangers asked us what was going on. A handsome Italian man asked us for our books (and our phone numbers). We were spreading the word, especially across Twitter where our activities were being picked up and commented on by our customers, competitors and bloggers alike.

The only fly in the ointment was the Trafalgar Square ranger having a very stern word with our MD Ian Chapman and telling us to clear off otherwise there would be trouble.  Ian didn’t wear his running shoes.  The rest of us left him for dust.

Have you got a Flashmob story? Let us know in the comments or tweet to @BMSoc!

 

Dawn Burnett is the Marketing Director (Adult Division) at Simon & Schuster and for the last 7 years has spearheaded numerous award-winning and bestselling campaigns with her brilliant team. Prior to this she worked for Ebury Publishing and Pan Macmillan. She is currently reading The Knot by Mark Watson. More blogs

 

 

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