What’s a publisher to do when the content of a new book is so racy and offensive that newspapers and magazines won’t touch it?
Build the buzz online by spending only $10,000 to create three short, risque, sexist videos about the risque, sexist book. Then post them at sites such as YouTube and watch as word spreads to other popular social networking sites like MySpace.
The Wall Street Journal article about the promotion didn’t link to the videos, so I had to go over to YouTube and spend 10 minutes searching for them. If you don’t want to be offended, skip to the next paragraph. If you’re curious, take a look: What Guys Really Think About Saying I Love You, What Men Really Think (on Dates) and What Men Really Think (About Marriage).
The videos have become a web sensation, with more than 1 million verified views in the past two weeks. Since its March 13 publication date, the book has gone back to press three times, raising the total in print from from 20,000 to 30,000.
The campaign is a super example of how a company with a tiny advertising budget is able to reach huge audiences quickly and cheaply. The WSJ says the campaign is particularly significant for book publishers, which prefer to rely on word-of-mouth chatter to drive sales more than conventional advertising.
Thanks to self-publishing guru Dan Poynter whose excellent Your Publishing Poynters Newsletter included a one-line mention and a link to the WSJ article.
The promotion is just one more example of how the old rules of publicity—measuring success with a thick pile of newspaper clippings—just don’t apply anymore.