THE IMPOSSIBLE SIGNING SESSIONS

ClientBOL.COM
Category B07. Use of Technology
TitleTHE IMPOSSIBLE SIGNING SESSIONS
Product/ServiceONLINE BOOKSTORE
Entrant DDB BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Idea Creation DDB BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Media Placement MEC BELGIUM Brussels, BELGIUM
PR LEWIS Antwerp, BELGIUM
Production DDB BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Production 2 BEYOND.IO Antwerp, BELGIUM
Credits
Name Company Position
Tom Meijer DDB Brussels Art Director
Silke Beurms DDB Brussels Copywriter
Peter Ampe DDB Brussels Creative Director
Odin Saille DDB Brussels Creative Director
Romy Vierhouten DDB Brussels Account Executive
Francis Lippens DDB Brussels Business Director
Jorian Vanvossel DDB Brussels Strategic Planner
Sven Verfaille DDB Brussels Designer
Wietse De Ridder DDB Brussels Designer
Danny Vissers DDB Brussels Concept provider
Benjamin Hiffe DDB DTP
Anner Tiete Beyond.io Developer
Kevin Verelst Beyond.io Developer
Elke Eriksson LEWIS Account Manager
Frederic Van de Meulebroucke LEWIS Account Executive
Morgane Lannoy Mec Global Communication Adviser

The Campaign

A book signing session always has something magical, as one stroke of the pen makes your copy a unique one. But what if the author of your favorite work has already passed away? To honor the legendary Belgian writer Paul van Ostaijen and celebrate the 100th birthday and re-issue of his masterpiece Music-Hall, bol.com created The Impossible Signing Sessions. With the help of technology, van Ostaijen was brought back to life for one last book signing session. We reproduced van Ostaijen’s handwriting and a robotic arm was adjusted and programmed

Creative Execution

We carefully analyzed Paul’s manuscripts, transforming his handwriting into a font. The only robot arm which could imitate those delicate writing movements was a device normally used for medical purposes. That arm was then tuned for three months until it mastered four different aspects of writing: pen choice, writing angle, writing speed and pressure. The software also allowed for people to write their own messages in the author’s handwriting, which gave the visitors an emotional souvenir and made every copy a one-of-a-kind bol.com souvenir. With the action, bol.com showed they know the passions of book fans.

Results

The quality of the imitations was praised by experts and journalists and made the Impossible Signing Sessions spread like wildfire with 24,7 million media impressions. The robot arm signed non-stop for twelve days during the Antwerp Book Fair, resulting in 4119 autographs and 15791 words. As the star of the event, Paul Van Ostaijen even became the most signing author of the entire festival with 1076 autographs. But most importantly: bol.com achieved 5% more brand awareness, and their turnover in book sales increased with 40%.

Bol.com created an impossible signing session at Belgium's largest literary event. The outcome of this session was a direct communication touchpoint with potential customers. Bol.com targeted people directly at the event, offering a personal interaction with the brand and giving them a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As Belgium’s largest literary event with more than 150.000 visitors in ten days, the Antwerp book fair is an obvious target for book retailers and publishers. That’s why online bookstore bol.com needed something to set them apart from the classic book signing stands at the event. However, it was crucial to maintain the same level of interaction between the brand, author and visitor as book fairs provide a unique opportunity to create a physical touchpoint between a digital book shop and its clients. ‘The Impossible Signing Sessions’ made bol.com extremely relevant in a rather unusual setting for an e-commerce giant. The main idea of the signing sessions was then supported by a campaign on multiple mass-media platforms (radio, outdoor, print and digital) to trigger more people to go visit the bol.com website and the stand at the Antwerp book fair.

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