With the importance of book signings in mind, we decided to link the innovative character of bol.com to a tribute for Paul van Ostaijen - one of Belgium’s most influential but long gone authors, and celebrate the 100th birthday and re-issue of his masterpiece Music-Hall.
To honour the legendary writer, we created ‘The Impossible Signing Sessions’. Meaning that, with the help of technology, van Ostaijen was brought back to life for one last book signing session.
By carefully analyzing the writer’s manuscripts, we reproduced van Ostaijen’s handwriting, and a robotic arm was adjusted and programmed until it could perfectly duplicate his handwriting and signature.
Before the book fair: personalized DM with signed book and press launch. At book fair: press release, interviews and personal tour. Not in the least, the software at the booth allowed people to write their own messages and dedications in the author’s handwriting, which gave visitors an emotional souvenir and created a new physical channel to influence public dialogue. After book fair: press release with results.
'The impossible signing sessions' allowed bol.com to position itself as an expert in books, close to the readers, while at the same time building on the image of the brand as an innovative player in the industry of book retailing.
Primetime news on all major Belgian tv - and radiostations.
Articles in both quality and popular press. Resulting in 24,7 million impressions.
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%.
With ‘The Impossible Signing Sessions’ we made bol.com extremely remarkable in a rather unusual setting for an e-commerce giant. By offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Antwerp Book Fair, we managed not only to bring a digital bookstore to life, but also the memory of one of the most influential Belgian writers of the 20th century. This resulted in a massive press attention for the fair, making the bol.com-booth the talk of the town and even turning it into a main stimulus for book enthusiasts to visit the fair.
In order to get the attention of the Belgian literary press, we sent a signed copy of Paul Van Ostaijen’s book days before the fair to all major journalists. Along with a personal message, we invited them to explore the very first signing robot. The Direct Mail immediately received press attention on - and offline.
But the real PR-momentum took place at the book fair itself. TV, radio and paper press made it their highlight news, resulting in an impressive media wave. Experts came to visit the robot and gave their opinion. People queued for hours to receive their very own signed copy.
At the end of the book fair, we gave the press an overview of the most striking results. And again, this content resulted in dozens of articles. Making this campaign the biggest PR initiative at the book fair.