#SYP101: Marketing 5×5 – Creating provocative conversations.

marketing5x5With so many amazing projects going on around us, we took a moment to celebrate just five and hear from those who worked on them. From World Whisky Day to YA sensations, we were given snapshots into a mix of exciting marketing campaigns making waves in the last year or so.

Photo by Chris Scott

Fraser Allen: World Whisky Day
We had various drink days like Gin Day, but Blair Bowman, at 19 years old noticed a gap for Whisky and decided to fill it. Soon, it grew into a global project, one beyond what he could manage, and so Fraser Allen and White Light Media stepped in to buy it over, but keep Blair on board. In 2015, they held 170 events, a mix of their own and those who register their own events with them, allowing them to capture the data. They’ve expanded it to include other days – Whisky Wednesday, for one – and ideas that tie back to their own boozy magazine Hot Rum Cow. It’s a big project, and one of good commercial involvement. A peak moment was David Beckham on Jimmy Kimmel’s show chatting all things whisky for the occasion. It’s a project that is ever-growing, allows others to get involved and put their own twist on it, and ties back into their own brand. As for the future? Knowing their database inside out and catering to it. They’ve got plans for a Whisky Festival in the next year or two – there’s no end of ways to celebrate whisky.

Photo by Chris Scott

Megan Duff – Estelle Maskame
Black & White publish Estelle Maskame, the teen sensation who published the Did I Mention I Love You? series on Wattpad, gaining millions of reads, tens of thousands of followers and self-made success. Marketing Estelle comes easily because she’s real, she builds personal relationships with her fans – her book is more than just one to read, it’s one that fans connect to and live. They write on their Converse like the characters do. The majority of people find personal book recommendations the most important factor in choosing a book, and so having an author that people feel connected to is incredible, one who shares her life with her followers like her friends. She’s just a normal teenager. Her work also lends itself to selling rights, and they focus on events. Fans turn out in the masses to see her. So, they’ve released the original Wattpad trilogy – what next? Dare To Fall, her standalone YA book, will build on Estelle’s brand. She’s a writer at the same age as those she’s writing about and for, she’s personable, and she’s been an incredible person to work on developing as an author.


Photo by Chris Scott

Janet Smyth – Booked!
The Edinburgh International Book Festival takes over Charlotte Square every August for a few weeks, and so they started looking for ways to branch out beyond the city and the time of year. And so Booked! was born. They work with communities and artists from all over, develop residencies and produce a bit of work along the way. It allows them to be proactive and develop writers. They’ve done weekends and events across Scotland and continue to expand their programme, while always maintaining the voice and essence of the local area that they’re working in. It’s rewarding for the people involved, but also as an organisation. It develops the Edinburgh International Book Festival brand by stepping outside of the box.


170303.178Laura Waddell – The Legend of Barney Thomson
During her time with Freight Books, Laura Waddell worked on a book that had been released a while ago, but was being re-released to coincide with a movie. They had basically zero budget, and so they had to get creative. They changed the book’s hashtag to tie in with the movie’s – she didn’t want the book to be outshone by the film, but work alongside it. Those looking up the film would see their book floating in its midst across Twitter. Partnerships were key – they teamed up with a cinema chain to run some competitions, and even managed to get Robert Carlile, the star of the film, to sign a book as a prize. Don’t ask, don’t get. While some of their goals didn’t work out and some approaches didn’t take off like they had hoped, the campaign was a success that allowed the book to sit alongside the movie and not be overshadowed. When you have no budgets, it’s about utilising what is freely available and having the instinct to source opportunities.

170303.181Flora Willis – I Love Dick.
I love Dick. Good to read, even better to say. When working with Chris Klaus’ book, they sought to make it ‘the cool girl’ Christmas gift of the year, which was no small feat given that it had been out for about 20 years and promotion would naturally be a low priority for the author. First, you have to identify champions – tap into the existing fanbase, source anyone who had previously talked about it. They would shamelessly namedrop their celeb fans, send PDFs to anyone and everyone. Once you get a killer quote – in their case the Guardian calling it the most important book about men and women in the last however many decades – use it to death. They had a tiny budget so instead reclaimed the Dick pic. #ILoveDick, badges, the book itself – it was about maintaining the momentum. Recycle others’ content, give away stuff, be responsive, give people stuff to talk about, make stickers shaped like speech bubbles that say ‘I Love Dick’, though that might not work for all books..! And with a new Chris Klaus book due soon, there’s more dicking about to be had. Basically, creative a provocative conversation.

Five quick looks at five brilliant campaigns and projects. Feeling inspired to do something cool yet? Us too.



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