Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Getting the Hollywood Treatment

New book from Gautam Malkani has what few books have had before: a trailer.

Arriving to bookshelves this week touting not-uncommon hype, "Londonstani" is garnering critical huzzahs and more. What makes this already release different, though, is its marketing campaign. Aside from the usual doling out of advance copies and strategically placed buzz-builders, HarperCollins has given this release a trailer.

Built in Flash and full of the grit and edge that peppers the text itself, the trailer is comprised of a series of provocative imagery of clubs, alley walls and keywords set to an asian-inpsired drum n' bass track. As simple as it sounds, I've never been so compelled to buy a book before. Within about 2 minutes of viewing the thing as a curiosity, I had ordered my copy.

Since February, HarperCollins has produced nearly a dozen such trailers. The motivation is “to drive early word of mouth,” says Steve Osgoode, director of online marketing and new media for HarperCollins Canada. While many lit-lovers may find it a tad unsavory to resort to something as garish as borrowing a technique from the film industry, the approach has proven its worth.

Though he can’t divulge the cost of the videos or how often they’ve each been viewed, Osgoode reports that consumer interest in them “has far, far exceeded what we expected.”

What can be said is that this phenomenon is far from fad. As it is still new, publishers are road-testing many different approaches. The result, however, is too good to ignore. As with many aspects of entertainment these days, this seems to be a part of an overall awakening -- the adoption of the internet as a sales and marketing medium has been a long process, and perhaps this is just one more step in the evolution.

For now, though, I'll be curling up with my new copy of "Londonstani".

Check out the "Londonstani" trailer here.

Buy "Londonstani" by Gautam Malkani

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