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Penguin Uses Mobile To Promote Teen Novel

penguin_150×200.gifPenguin Books is one of the best known book companies in the world. Nick Hornby is a bestselling author with several novels that have been made successfully into films, including About A Boy, Fever Pitch and High Fidelity.

When Penguin launched Hornby’s latest novel SLAM – his first to be directed at a teenagers – they decided to reach this audience by using a very innovative mobile campaign that involved downloadable audio, celebrity voices, and the Blyk mobile network.

Penguin had two key objectives for this campaign. First was to directly promote the novel SLAM. The second was to promote the Penguin online book store as a destination for latest book releases.

The Campaign
Penguin decided to run the campaign on the Blyk network, the UK based MVNO which targets 16 to 24 year olds, and is completely ad-funded.

The basis of advertising on Blyk is to establish a conversation between the brand and the consumer. In this case, the conversation consisted of a number of MMS messages. The messages were sent to Blyk subscribers from 11am to 3pm throughout the week, with the intent to engage the audience at lunch or on the way home from school or work.


The first MMS was an image of the cover of the book. It also offered a “Free Audio Preview”.


The second part of this MMS explained a bit more. It offered the subscriber an audio recording of the beginning of the first chapter of the novel. In addition, the reading was done by Nicholas Hoult, the star of the TV show Skins and a very well known celebrity for the teenage group.

At this point the consumer could simply text ‘Y’ or ‘N’ to respond, and then the second part of the “conversation” would depend on which response was sent.

For those who sent a “Y” text, they were given the chance to listen to the audio clip. Here is the response screen, and you can hear the first 30 seconds of actual audio by clicking on the link below it.


Download link

For consumers who replied with a “N” text, they were sent a screen which acknowledged that they didn’t want to hear SLAM, but still suggested that they go to the Penguin website to learn about other new releases.


The Results

The results from this campaign were very impressive.

  • 7 out of 10 subscribers who received the message engaged in the dialogue by sending a text response.
  • Of those that responded, 51% of them responded Yes and downloaded the audio clip to their phone.
  • In addition, subscribers who had described themselves as ‘booklovers’ were 35% more likely to respond.

This means that over 30% of the targeted audience actually ended up with an audio preview of the book in their phone – this is a very high percentage, and clearly a great promotion for the book.


About Blyk

Blyk began operation in the UK at the end of September 2007, and reached a subscriber base of 100,000 within the first 7 months. The service is targeted at the 16 to 24 year-old segment, and offers members free voice minutes and text messages every month with no contract in return for receiving up to six highly targeted advertising messages per day.

Read more about Blyk in these MobiAD posts:

• Blyk Goes Live In The UK

• Designing Blyk – The First Ad-Funded Mobile Operator
An interview with Marko Ahtisaari

27.08.2008    Tags: ,
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