The campaign multiverse: A Tale for the Time Being case study

by Cate Cannon

The Tale for the Time Being story is both ancient (delving into old Buddhist practises and World War II kamikaze suicide pilots), and modern, with instances of cyber-bullying and the Japanese tsunami at the heart of the story. It’s a story about layers and connection – the reader’s journey through a diary as well as the story of the diary itself, the technological connection we now all have through the internet and how that can enable as well as expose and destroy. Above all,  it is about the way we are all connected as a planet, in this case by pacific gyres that bring rubbish across the ocean from Japan to Canada. Moreover, the story is TOLD in a very fresh modern way, written to someone in Nao (the main heroine)’s future, and as an iNovel; an old Japanese way of featuring the author within the novel, but something that is unusual to find today.

 

The publishing multiverse

For some time we have wanted to trial a multi-format release, creating bundling opportunities and thinking about book purchasing more from the reader’s perspective. Because of its fresh, modern story, this felt like the right book to test our ideas. It would also help to create a publishing moment for a book we all felt deserved huge attention but is written by a relatively unknown author. We went to design agency Big Active, who specialise in record label artwork across multi formats, and asked them to help us create a look that translated across a beautiful spineless hardback, a paperback and an e-book, and our advertising – seamlessly.

 

The Campaign Blip

I noticed that Shortlist Magazine had produced a Blippar edition where a retro game came to life when you held your phone over it, and thought we could use this on the paperback jacket of A Tale for the Time Being. This had not been done before on a book using Blippar technology. It essentially allows you to hold your iPhone/iPad over the cover (having downloaded the free app), whereupon the red sticker would peel back revealing the full image of the story, animated, with Ruth’s voice reading the opening lines of the story. I felt this augmented reality tool encapsulated that feeling of stories within stories; it connected you via a series of links to take advantage of a hardback/e-Book bundling offer on Canongate.TV, to comment on facebook, to watch a film of Ruth talking about the book – to effectively join the community and the multi-format strategy surrounding the book, without taking anything away from the design or intruding with an ugly QR code – it enhances rather than reduces.

We continued this approach across the ad campaign, using the animated cover we had created for blippar on digital adverts to make it stand out from regular book ads. We clocked more than 3,000 blips for just over a month of publication, and the trajectory is showing ongoing interest so we hope to see that continue to build.

 

Cate Cannon is Head of Marketing & Digital Content at Canongate
You can follow her on Twitter at @cannoncate

 

 

 

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