The Pottermore ebook offer is a fascinating development on all sorts of levels. But I must confess a small amount of personal pleasure when I viewed the intro video on the new site. It would seem that the New Zealand Book Council has an inspiring connection to J.K. Rowling’s latest venture.
In 2009 we worked with an Auckland advertising agency Colenso BBDO to create a promo video that could express the power of the word on the page in terms of images and voice on screen.
Colenso’s Creative Director, Nick Worthington, had been hugely impressed by a couple of young Danish artists based in London, Anderson M Studio. Their animation, combined with the writing of one of New Zealand’s greatest writers, Maurice Gee and a great voice-over produced this:
(Warning, books were actually harmed in the making of this video)
The video was an instant Youtube hit reaching the top ten in the viral video charts and is just about to hit its 1 millionth viewing. Neil Gaiman tweeted his approval and the film won a Gold Film Craft Lion at Cannes in 2010, two New Zealand Axis Gold awards, and an international animation prize awarded by New York’s Museum of Art and Design . It also reached the shortlist of another international award, the “Pencil” award for animation at the D&AD creative awards in London.
We still receive emails about it regularly, my favourite from a old Faber colleague who credited it with helping him sell Maurice Gee into Canada.
For me the whole project demonstrated that the task of book marketing is not to convey features, but to tell the story of the story, to convince the reader of the experience they will have once the pages are opened. Going West did that beautifully.
P.S. I also love this promo video about Ian McKellen and Shakespeare. Which is, of course, completely relevant because I was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and Ian McKellen has been to New Zealand.