Ad of the Week: Experience Exclusive Books’ theatre of the mind
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Exclusive Books plays with the word “Experience” in its latest radio ad campaign, produced by Net#work BBDO under the creative direction of Jenny Glover and Brent Singer, with copywriting by Jarred Osmond and Greig Watt.
South Africans should be familiar with Hopkins’ voice, given he is a seasoned voice artist. Hopkins also played Richard Hopcroft in Paul Slabolepszy’s cricket play, Life’s a Pitch and was also in Slabolepszy’s film Heel Against the Head.
But let’s get back to the ad. The stories chosen for this piece of ‘theatre of the mind’, as radio is called, are all dramatic — even horrifying — so the narration and music are suitably dramatic. Each piece begins with “Experience…” and continues to describe the cage of rats from Nineteen Eighty-Four, or the body buried in the basement in The Cement Garden.
The voice acting is exciting and dramatic, and, just as one is being pulled into the story, the music stops and the voiceover changes to a ‘straight’ delivery, beginning with “Without experiencing…” — and reading the passage again in a light, slightly humorous tone.
The payoff line is “Exclusive Books. Experience more… without actually having to experience more.”
Great play on words
It’s a great play on the word “experience” — because it aptly describes reading a book, where a story excites your imagination into experiencing a dramatic event or series of events, without actually having to live through the actual experience in real life.
Radio and reading have much in common here; they are both theatres of the mind in the way they enable the imagination to take flight.
Each of the four ads uses aspects of different novels but they all have one thing in common: horrifying and terrifying scenarios. This choice is clever because it underscores most people’s enjoyment of exciting stories. And stories are one of the things that make us human, after all.
It’s a well-focused campaign in line with the Exclusive Books strategy, which has always been to bring the fun back into reading. The bookselling business is experiencing challenges worldwide, as e-books ‘steal’ from print, online stores ‘steal’ from the bricks-and-mortar, and the internet provides alternative (free) forms of entertainment.
In July 2013, TechCentral reported that Exclusive Books’ mother company, Times Media Group (TMG), had announced its decision to sell the approximately 50-store book chain, along with its sister company, the educational book retailer Van Schaik Bookstores. The deal was closed in September, in a transaction that valued the companies jointly at R43 –million, to a consortium led by Medu Capital. TMG has been going through a process of selling off non-core assets, so this came as little surprise to the industry.
Still in demand
In a letter to Business Day at the time of the first announcement, Brian Wootton, then head of TMG Books, said that, despite the growth in popularity of e-books, there was still a large demand for ‘real’ ones, citing research from PwC that forecast a growth of e-books from 2% of the consumer market in 2012 to 8% in 2017.
Wootton wrote, “E-books have shown dramatic growth over the past few years. However, growth is beginning to flatten and indications are that e-books will form between 20% and 30% of the total consumer book market spending in the territory. The growth of e-books is influenced by a number of factors, including education, technology penetration, internet adoption rates and levels of reading.”
He also pointed out that different books experience different adoption rates; for example, fiction experiences a much higher e-book adoption than children’s books. No electronic device can replace the experience a child has of physically paging through a well-illustrated story book, or reading along while a caregiver reads aloud. Other factors include that one can’t wrap an e-book as a gift, lending capability is limited, and that many people prefer the experience of a physical book.
A clever reminder
The radio ad campaign is a clever reminder of this magical property that books seem to have. Books transport readers to other worlds, so this radio campaign should resonate well with readers and will no doubt have effective recall.
In summary: a powerful and creative use of the ‘theatre of the mind’ of radio, to illustrate the ‘theatre of the mind’ of books.
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research.
If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging,
please let Oresti know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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