The Time Rep marketing machine splutters to life!
Okay – now that Time Rep has been released, I need to think about how I enter the third stage of becoming a successful published author. In case you were wondering, the first stage was just writing an actual book so I could call myself an author. This took six years. The second stage was becoming a published author, which took another six years. If things follow the same pattern, I’m hoping to be a successful published author by July 6th, 2019. That is, if it happens at all – I’m fully aware that in life there are no guarantees, particularly if you shop at flea markets. I bought a faulty flea from one the other day and they wouldn’t let me return it.
But what do I mean by ‘successful’? Well, I think a successful published author is someone who can say their books have been read by lots of people. Or maybe even lots and lots of people. Now, don’t get me wrong – in terms of what’s truly important to me, it’s all about the writing. Just completing a book without going mad and giving the first draft to your friends and family is the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. That is of course, if your ambition is to be an author. If you hate writing and want be a professional footballer instead, writing a book is going to be about as fulfilling as running a marathon and then drinking a thimble of orange juice at the end to quench your thirst. For me though, I did want to be an author, so it was very exciting to see how people first reacted to something I had created, (even my mum, who stopped reading Time Rep after chapter five because she said she didn’t have a clue what was going on).
However, it would be nice if Time Rep became big. Every time I hear about someone who liked it, and every time I see a comment about how it made someone laugh, I feel good, and encouraged to write more. I love writing, so the more that happens, the better.
So how do I make Time Rep big? How do I get lots of people to read it? There’s only one solution – I need to resort to the dreaded M-word:
Actually, not muffins – marketing. That’s what I meant. Having said that though, muffins might work too, if you got one free with every book. It might be a bit tricky to do over the internet though, particularly since the last muffins I made are now being used as paperweights.
So anyway, I’ve been doing some research on successful marketing methods, to see if I can use some to publicise my book. By ‘research’, I mean I’ve been watching lots of television commercials, and by this I mean I’ve just been watching a lot of television programmes, which generally get interrupted by commercials every few minutes. What I have concluded is that all marketing campaigns fall into one of the following categories:
1) The “Take a classic song and butcher it by rewriting the lyrics and shoehorning your brand name in there, even if it doesn’t scan with the tune” approach
In the old days, when the marketing industry was remotely creative, musicians used to write jingles for products. Anyone remember the Shake & Vac advert? Or Cadbury’s Smash? Okay, they’re not going to win any awards for musical significance (oh wait – they did), but at least they were original. Nowadays, you have companies like UPS taking the lyrics for “That’s Amore” (made famous by Dean Martin), and replacing them with this soul-rending alternative:
When the planes in the sky for a chain of supply that’s logistics
When the parts for the line come precisely on time that’s logistics
A continuous link that’s is always in sync that’s logistics
Carbon footprint reduced bottom line gets a boost that’s logistics
With new ways to compete they all be eyes on Wall Street that’s logistics
When technology knows just where everything goes that’s logistics
Bells will ring ring a ding ring a ding ring a ding that’s logistics
There will be no more stress cause you called UPS that’s logistics
Or how about Confused.com’s reworking of the lyrics to (the admittedly less classic) YMCA by The Village People:
Young man, there’s no need to feel blue
I said hey now, Car insurance is due
You could save yourself a fortune
Compare insurance at Confused.com
We’re saving money at Confused.com…
It goes on. If I was to go down this route of marketing the book, perhaps I could rewrite the lyrics to “Something” by The Beatles. It would go like this:
Something in the way she reads Time Rep
Attracts me to a bookshop like no other lover
Something in the way she laughs at the hilarious jokes
I don’t want to leave her now
But I think I will anyway and buy myself a copy
Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I haven’t got to the funny part she is reading
Something in her style that shows me Time Rep is good
I don’t want to leave her now
But I think I will anyway and buy myself a copy
You’re asking me will my love grow for Time Rep
I don’t know, wait I do – it will
You stick around now, it may show
Buy a copy of Time Rep
I think that works pretty well, don’t you? I think I’ve treated the source material with enough respect, right?
2) The “Men are stupid” approach
These are the adverts where a man is depicted being unable to complete a simple task that usually involves cleaning, making dinner, or doing some other domestic routine. It will be something like putting washing powder into a tumble drier and then wondering why the clothes have come out all powdery or something. The man will be there scratching his head, before the woman comes along and sorts everything out. The idea in the eyes of the marketing bods is that women will watch these adverts and think to themselves, “Ha! Men are so stupid! By extension of this, my husband / boyfriend is also stupid! What would they do if I wasn’t about to carry out all these domestic tasks that they are too stupid to do? Stupid heads!” The woman is then supposed to feel empowered at the notion that they are the ones smart enough to do the laundry. In reality of course, everyone can see right through what the commercial is trying to do, but it is frankly embarrassing that some people think women are dumb enough to fall for it.
So how would I adapt this approach for Time Rep? I think maybe I would have a man trying to read the book, except he is having trouble because he is holding it upside-down. At the same time, he is also trying to do the ironing, but because he’s having trouble reading the book, he isn’t concentrating on the task at hand. As a result, he accidentally irons over his own hand and drops the book on the floor. A woman will then turn up and roll her eyes, hand the book back to the man the right way around, then make him sit down and read the book so she can do the ironing for him.
That’s female empowerment for you!
3) The “Shout at the screen” approach
My favourite form of advertising. No messing around, someone just walking onto the screen and shouting “BUY THIS PRODUCT YOU MORONS! IT DOES ALL THIS AMAZING STUFF YOU CAN’T DO WITHOUT!” Adapting that to publicising the book would be easy. I’d just get someone to run up to the screen and shout “BUY TIME REP YOU IDIOTS!!!”
4) The “Just show some big tits” approach
It’s the oldest phrase in the business – sex sells, and if you need an example, just type “Fiat boob job commercial” into to Google to see a wonderfully tasteful advert from Brazil, taken straight from the “Elaine Showalter book of marketing ideals.” The commercial basically involves a woman telling her partner she’s getting a boob job, followed by the man fantasising about diving into her cleavage. I think the message from Fiat is pretty clear here: “Aren’t big tits great? Oh and while you’re thinking about big tits, why not think about buying a Fiat? Did we mention they are good cars?” No, you didn’t mention that, but you did reveal that your marketing department likes to come up with campaigns that gives them an excuse to film girls with big tits, and that we should associate big tits with Fiats. Did you get many women buying your cars on the back of that advert, Fiat? I think not. I know it sounds like I’m making this up, but here’s a screenshot from the advert in case you don’t believe me:
So if I was to adapt this approach to market the book, I think I’d get a custom bikini made that said “Time” over the right boob, and “Rep” over the left one. Then, if you were looking at someone wearing said bikini, it would read “Time Rep”! Genius, huh?
5) The “Celebrity endorsement” approach
This one is equally transparent. You just need a famous person to say they use your product. The idea is that people will watch the advert and think, “wait a minute – that person is someone I want to be, and they use this product! Perhaps if I used that product, I would be more like them!” The key is to make sure you pick someone who appeals to your target market. That’s why you get Brad Pitt advertising a perfume, or Cat Deeley advertising a shampoo. For Time Rep, I think it’s pretty straightforward – I’d hire the cast of The Big Bang Theory. And Spock.
I think that covers all angles in terms of potential marketing approaches, so look out for these soon. And if you have any ideas yourself, feel free to mention them in the comments below. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy a Fiat…