Sunday, January 17, 2010

ABC's Marketing Genius

Since marketing is a part of the duties of an author, I like to keep my eyes open for what other people are doing even in other venues.

This particular marketing tactic of using multi outlets is something ABC has done before. In 2004, when Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital came out, they got with Hyperion books and put out a tie-in book called The Journals of Eleanor Druse: My Investigation of the Kingdom Hospital Incident. It was a great way for fans of the mini series to get a little more juice out of it, to give the experience another level and get more information.

Well, the same type of multi media experience for fans is being repeated again with ABC's new show Castle, staring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, but in some ways it is at a whole new level.

Castle is about a mystery writer named Richard Castle who through his huge stack of contacts gets permission to follow after Lieutenant Kate Beckett as she goes about her work in solving murders in New York City. Castle is an incorrigible free spirit to Beckett's very strict no nonsense personality, but does add a different point of view and knowledge base, so the team dynamic actually works (all to Beckett's chagrin) and more crimes are getting solved than would have without him. Meanwhile, Castle is using Beckett as the inspiration for new set of books.

So comes to life the character of Nikki Heat, who he will be using in his new series, the first of which will be entitled, Heat Wave.

In the show, we see Castle start and finish the book, as well as actually get it published. It has a cover, it has a dedication to Beckett, they talk of passages in the book. And here is where the beautiful part comes in - Hyperion actually printed a 'real' book called Heat Wave written by Richard Castle for viewers to buy!

The front and back cover is the same. The back cover has a picture of Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle for the author. And then, to sweeten the deal, they went a few paces further, which so totally makes the fantasy weave in with the show and bring the audience in.

The dedication of the 'real' book is the same as the one talked about on the show. There are actually passages in the book that are of things Castle learned during several of the cases in the episodes, or even things he brought to the table to help the police. (The discussion on all the varied names for a 'perp' for instance. Castle's acquaintance with an art thief he'd befriended on research for another book. Other little things like this.)

Better yet was the mention on the show (as Beckett is trying to read the new book - as she is a fan of Castle's - though this is something she would like him not to remember and is sneaking around to read the thing) of the 'hot' scene on page 103. Which in the 'real' book, is exactly where the romance heats up.

As a fan of the show, these ins and outs just tickled the heck out of me and shot my enjoyment of the series and the book by multiples. In New York they even did book signings with Nathan Fillion playing his character to sign books!

(As for the book itself, it's pretty good! On a personal level I wished they had not made it so close to the show (a reporter has tacked himself on to Heat's team to get the inside scoop on crime solving), but the mystery itself and all the awesome tie-in bits made it a total treat.)

This is a wonderful example of how to grab and give a treat to your fan base. That's some marketing ABC. Kudos to you!
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