Some of the biggest creative names in advertising just received snail-mailed prototypes of book jacket designs … for novels they haven’t yet written.
It’s all part of an ambitious call for entries for the Winston Fletcher Fiction Prize, an annual literary competition for authors working in the advertising industry. MullenLowe London created the personalized books, which are blank on the inside, to luminaries like TBWA’s Lee Clow, Goodby Silverstein’s Jeff Goodby, Grey’s Vicki Maguire, McCann’s John Mescall and DDB’s Richard Russell—to drum up entries for the contest’s third year.
All of the books feature a cheeky placeholder name: Title Goes Here. The pages have no text, with the exception of a single teaser line that appears once: “What’s your next chapter?”
Click the images to enlarge.
The cover of each book features an image that pays homage to a famous work created by its recipient. Clow’s references his “1984” ad for Apple, Goodby’s honors the “Got Milk?” campaign, Maguire’s nods to her work for the British Heart Foundation, Mescall’s alludes to “Dumb Ways to Die,” the smash hit PSA for Metro Melbourne trains; and Russell’s references the Honda “Grrr” ad he co-wrote at Wieden + Kennedy London.
Similarly customized versions of the books went to other creatives who have done well at advertising awards shows in recent years. The book covers are also running as print ads in advertising trade media.
The idea is clever, in a cute kind of way. And it’s not a bad way to seed publicity for Winston Fletcher’s 2016 call for submissions. Entrants must submit a maximum of 4,000 words by Aug. 31 to a jury chaired by Tim Waterstone, founder of the European chain bookstore Waterstone’s. The cash prize is worth about $2,900.
It’s also not the competition’s first time using gimmickry to promote itself: Last year, it cooked up clueless client commentary on the classic works of ad-man authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller and Salman Rushdie.
The only problem is, the creative stars’ most iconic campaigns are probably, at this point, the last things they’ll want to write a book about. (Or at least they should be.)
Client Name: Winston Fletcher Fiction Prize
Campaign Name: Winston Fletcher Fiction Prize 2016
Agency: MullenLowe London
Chief Creative Officer: Dave Henderson
ECD: Richard Denney
Creative Director: Dave Henderson, Richard Denney
Creative Team: Dave Henderson, Richard Denney
Account Team: Izzy Falcon, Jess Bird
Agency Producer: Gary Wallis
Retoucher: Pete Steadman
Designers: Augusta Lindquist, Ryan Self, Rob Hare, Javier Leal-Olivas, Elisabeth Bolzon