Commercial Thoughts

December 3rd, 2007 · 2 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

Thanks to the magic of TiVo, I rarely see commercials these days. In fact, I am at the point where a commercial is a wondrous thing: Oh look, I think, someone is trying to sell me something. Serendipity is a great thing. Every now and then I’ll mess up on the fast-forwarding and discover that bands like the Buzzcocks are doing AARP commercials and the Clash are trying to sell me a car (so close, dear Pressure Drop, so close).

Last night, as I was fast forwarding through “Buffy” reruns (the commercials, not the programming), what to my wondering eyes did appear but an advertisement for a book: Karen Marie Moning’s Bloodfever. Moning, who has built a strong following as a romance author, is expanding her repertoire with the new “Fever” series. Naturally, Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, is hoping her existing fan base follows the author as she moves into a slightly different type of fiction.

But Delacorte is also trying to reach a new audience. Hence the commercial. You can imagine the meetings, the excitement. “Buffy fans…obsessive. If we can tap into them…we can rule the world!” And so on. It makes sense that Moning, who has made the leap to hardcover and made her name in paranormal romance, would be promoted to this audience. That the publisher would buy television advertising, even in the relatively inexpensive syndication market, says something about their commitment to this author.

It does make me wonder why I don’t see more individual book advertising, outside the vanity ads placed in book sections (that still exist) of major newspapers. Harlequin does a lot of Internet advertising for its book clubs, but very little for individual titles. Given the low cost of advertising on blogs and other websites, I am surprised that I don’t see more publisher-generated title advertisements.

I am of the opinion that selling books requires far more than preaching to the choir. Moning’s publisher could likely do very well based on the strength of her existing romance audience. But to take her to the next step, she needs to reach even more readers. I’m curious to learn how the television campaign goes. But it’s also instructive to consider that book readers are not necessarily accessible through book portals.

Put another way, not every reader out there is reading industry-oriented or even reader-oriented blogs. Sure, these sites get a high volume of traffic based on search engine love alone, but, as you might guess, search engine traffic requires the act of seeking. Why not more micro-ad placement that moves beyond the usual suspects?

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

2 responses so far ↓

  • Sheila Clover English // Dec 3, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    I just wrote an article called Broadband vs. Broadcast for Future Publishing Blog.
    My company creates more book commericals in the US than any other company.
    We book the airtime both for television and in movie theaters.
    With more and more people turning to the internet, television airtime has felt the loss and many have reduced their prices accordingly.
    It is not unusual for us to book 300+ TV spots for $1500 if we do it regionally.
    With broadcast advertising the shear number of households that potentially see the commercial makes this kind of advertising desirable.
    But, with TiVo and DVRs that “potential” number may not be very accurate.
    Broadband, or online advertising, is done primarily in 2 ways. Direct advertising where you create a commercial and pay for placement somewhere. Or indirect, where you cleverly disguise the commercial as entertainment and place it on social media or as content somewhere.
    You choose your desired venue according to what you want to accomplish. When we create book videos for our clients we find out what they want to accomplish and can direct them from there according to budget.
    For Moning, it makes sense to do TV ads since she’s got to a place where her traditional readers are going to follow her. So, now how will she grow readership? Well, she needs to reach beyond traditional readers to “potential” readers. There are other circumstances in which you’d want to use TV or movie theater placement, but I won’t bore you with it. lol
    More and more publishers are putting book video on TV and in movie theaters. As the prices go down, it makes sense to go there.
    Of course, there’s nothing like broadband/online marketing because it is MUCH easier for online users to impulse buy online as opposed to trying to recall the TV commercial the next time they happen to be at the store.
    Very interesting and engaging blog! I’m so happy to have found it!

  • Jim Murdoch // Dec 4, 2007 at 9:06 am

    In the UK there is very little advertising on television for books. It happens and I’m always a bit taken aback when I see one but it’s invariably for something I would never buy; I’m really an atypical reader, most of the authors I go for are dead or not far off it.

    The problem I have with the internet is that there is too much of it. I don’t know which sites to trust and none of them have the kind of intuitive search facility I expect I’d need. The nearest is Amazon where I can see books similar to authors I know I like or, at the very least, I can see what else the people who buy these books are interested in. I use this more with music than books but it suits me just fine.

    If something is out of place you tend to notice it. A bookshop is full of books so what does it take for one to stand out? The adverts in general that I actually read are the ones on bus shelters, little bits of colour to brighten up the dreich (that would be wet, dismal to the rest of the world) Glaswegian winters. Usually these ads are for films but a fair number of books get that kind of treatment and it works. Again, the books they’re pushing are rarely anything I’d go for, but that’s just me.