Print advertising doesn’t have to be boring. Penguin Audiobooks demonstrates how creative visuals can grab your attention and reel your mind in to think about the products or services being pitched.
The recently launched Penguin Audiobooks campaign doesn’t, at first glance, seem like the type of thing that would immediately skyrocket into popularity. The campaign features famous literary figures in acrobatic poses on the cover of each audiobook. Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and other well-known literati don the cover of each audio book in mirrored backbends that form the appearance of a headphone.
Why a headphone, you ask? Well, what else comes to mind when you think of audiobooks? Penguin, and other publishers, have had a difficult time with sales of classic literature books in an audio format. Customers who read classic novels tend to be old-fashioned. They love the smell and the feel of old books and have a hard time transitioning into the modern technological world.
Hence, Penguin hired the McCann Worldgroup ad agency branch based in Mumbai, India in order to conceive and execute a new campaign that would both appeal to a younger audience and not risk alienating their older audience. The Penguin ad campaign was headed by creative directors Rohit Devgun and Talha Nazim and illustrated by Lamano Estudio. The goal was to get the recognizable faces of these brilliant writers depicted in a quirky, funny way that also evoked the idea of listening to audio books.
Thus the designers decided to mimic the shape of a headset by depicting the authors in funny, cartoonish backbends so that their faces act as a headset and their bodies are wrapped back into what would be the plastic headband.
The campaign was a huge success, increasing awareness of Penguin audiobooks by 15%. Further solidifying the affect of this campaign, 7% more audiobooks sold in a matter of days and the campaign won a Gold Press Lion at Cannes International Festival of Creativity!
In addition to the brilliance of blending the wisened, iconic depictions of these authors into a modern contraption, the design works so well because of it’s extreme minimialism. Besides the authors themselves, there are no other design elements on the covers besides the tiny Penguin logo at the bottom center. This creates visually appealing design that pops out of the whitespace and brings the viewers attention directly to the material itself, rather than distracting marketing lingo or clever design.