Earlier this year, prolific crime author James Patterson devised a bizarre digital scheme to promote the release of his novel Private Vegas.
In the lead up to the official release of the publication, Patterson made available a single edition of the book that would self-destruct after 24 hours. While the lucky purchaser would also be treated to the additional perks of of flights to a secret destination, two nights' accommodation at a hotel, a five-course dinner with the author and a pair of gold binoculars, the $300,000 price tag meant that it was limited to the super rich.
After the initial promotional push for the $300,000 book, Patterson then released 1,000 digital versions that would self-destruct "in spectacular fashion" after 24 hours.
Patterson commissioned the digital wizards at Resn to develop the website to host the campaign. And although all 1,000 copies of the book have already been downloaded and destroyed (the campaign only ran for five days), the website is still live, providing information on the elite few who were able to access the books.
The time limit on the book was only 24 hours, but users could sabotage the timer to gain extra time to complete the pages. The success of their sabotaging efforts.
Patterson, whose writing has been described as terrible by Stephen King, is an ex adman who worked as a creative at JWT and admits that marketing has played a major role in his ongoing success.
As illustrated by this campaign, Patterson hasn't lost his touch in terms of creating hype to accompany the release of a new book. But more so than hype, the campaign also appeals directly to what Nielsen refers to as 'super consumers'. In the latter half of 2014, Nielsen released a study the elaborated further on the importance of these consumers to brands:
"Super-Consumers sit at the intersection of heavy users and highly involved consumers, which means they’re both emotionally and economically engaged in the category. According to Nielsen research, this group of consumers in the US account for 10 percent of a category’s customers and anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of a brand’s sales. They represent a key opportunity for brands looking for growth when growth is elusive."
By engaging with his most eager fans, Patterson is essentially creating an army of supporters who will spread the good word about the new publication—and this is incredibly powerful in the age of social media.