10 May 2011
Barnes & Noble launched their new Read Forever ad campaign at the end of April, with TV spots and print ads emphasizing the notion of reading forever. According to a New York Times article on the campaign, the ads feature a hopeful message: "Reading is changing, but it’s not going away."
The article also posits that the lack of images of any Barnes & Noble stores in the ads is an accurate reflection of the current transition in the publishing marketplace: brick-and-mortar foot traffic is down, online purchases are up.
And Barnes & Noble wants the Nook (specifically, the Nook Color) to take a cut of those online purchases. Hence, the campaign. Duh.
To this marketer's mind, Barnes & Noble had two main challenges to overcome in the marketplace. First, the resistance to e-books and e-readers that has been displayed by many tried-and-true bookworms (like yours truly). Second, the simple fact that the Kindle beat them to it, and "Kindle" has, to many, become synonymous with "e-reader," just as we've abandoned "self-adhesive bandage" (too many words) in favor of "Band-Aid" (the first of its kind, you kn0w).
And to this bookworm's mind, the campaign hits it out of the park on both accounts. It hits the emotional nail on its proverbial head. By focusing on books instead of readers, the ads succeed in not driving e-book hesistants away at first glance; by scattering the Nook among images of people reading real, old-fashioned p-books, the ads successfully (I think) position the Nook as just one among many ways to read.
In short, it celebrates the act of reading rather than the way in which we choose to do it. What better way to celebrate a new way to read the books we already cherish?