2009 PRO Awards: Reader Revolution

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Agency: The AIM Agency
Client: Sony Electronics

Sony’s Reader Digital Book was the first-to-market in January of 2006, but now faces competitive pressures from other brands such as Amazon’s much publicized Kindle. Yet while Sony’s research showed that consumers’ likelihood to purchase increased after they tried the product, a national study reported that Americans — in particular, those 18-24 — were spending less time reading. Sony not only wanted to increase market share, they also felt it was their civic duty to get the younger generation excited about reading.

They formed the Reader Revolution, designed to change how people receive, manage and interact with digital content. A strong call to action invited consumers to “join the revolution”. More than 1,200 “revolutionaries” were deployed to bring the message out to the people in book, electronics, religious and specialty stores, mass retailers, book and travel fairs, office buildings and airports, offering two-minute free trials of Sony’s Reader Digital Book. For each trial conducted, Sony donated 10 ebooks to schools and learning institutions nationwide. Virtual trials and informational content about the product were also offered at sony.com/reader.

At the start of the promotion, revolutionaries were posted throughout Grand Central Station’s north terminal and engaged commuters, who could join the revolution with their mobile phones and get a free ebook or donate an ebook to the cause. To add buzz, Sony hired Dave Farrow, the two-time Guinness world record holder for memory, as designated reader in a month-long “sit-in” inside a Manhattan storefront. His readings could be viewed online or on-site. For every 4,000 pages he read, Sony donated an ebook library to a learning institution.

The campaign was an overwhelming success. In just four months, revolutionaries interacted with 2.2 million Americans. The website generated a 500% increase in traffic with more than 100,000 people visiting sony.com/reader and participating in the free trial. Sony distributed 15 million ebooks, while sales for the Reader Digital Book increased by 300%.

Return to the list of 2009 Pro Awards winners.

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