We were thinking about writing a case study — something that doesn’t deserve to be called “a case”. It’s kind of official, and such an approach is not possible when it comes to promoting the book “Zoja”. Nor will the text you’ve just begun to read. Nevertheless, it is not a common situation in which you can fully realise the idea, creative, PR, business design and event management.
A few months ago, we received an invitation for possible cooperation on the promotion of a book and a documentary. We knew very little about Zoja’s mom and Zoja’s law, even though we were getting ready for the meeting. We knew that Zoja was a girl who lost her battle with severe Batten disease and that her parents, with the help of good people, managed to “push through” a law that the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia unanimously adopted. And then that information and data got the tone, the picture, the emotions, the look, the voice.
During the first meeting, we proposed an idea, a message, and a promotional date. It’s that moment of creativity that we believe is necessary in the work we do, with all the algorithms and AI (Artificial Intelligence) starting to dominate. This is that Retro guy, we’re supposed to write “Draper’s” instinct!
We proposed 29th of February as the date of promotion (we immediately saw it was Saturday) because there is also a message date – as we talk about fighting rare diseases, let’s do it on a day that appears rarely – only once every four years. Together with Bojana – Zoja’s mother and Nenad Mikalački – documentary author and Zoja’s uncle, we agreed that the sale of the book should be on a principle: “pay all you want” and all the money is directed to the association for children affected by the rare “Life”.
We heard the idea of the “pay as much as you want” principle in a lecture by Miša Lukic at the Faculty of Media and Communications a few days before our meeting. As with the choice of dates, we wanted to send a message here – the book “Zoja” describes the actions and gestures of a large number of people who were drawn into the story in various ways or were part of it. And everyone had a chance to show their true face. That same space was left when buying the book.
The opposite of everything we’ve learned
Experts in the sphere of marketing will tell you that the goal of each (OK, almost every) message created is to bring emotion into the campaign, because then the story gets extra value (“The whole thing comes down to emotionalization” – Lazar Džamić – podcast “Pojačalo”(Amplifier)). In the book “Zoja” there are such emotional situations and examples that we have decided on a reversible process. To return it to the rational “frame”, because what is in the pages of the book, as well as what we heard from Bojana – has a strong emotional charge, it seems literally: unreal and unrealistic.
We began communication on social media by commenting on the reach of Zoja’s law: that it was presented in the European Parliament and at the United Nations, that it had united Serbia and that more than 2,000 children had been diagnosed so far. For the first post that is rooted in emotion, we chose a video with illustrations from the book and the voice of Ivana Krgovic (one of the authors) because it tells the story in the documentary “Zoja”. So we announced the sale of the book, which can be ordered through the Zoja.rs website.
This was followed by a teaser of a documentary, and it was the first time that there were no illustrations in the announcements, but of real people.
The reaction (Engagement) of the audience was excellent in terms of Key Performance Indicator (for example, 156 sherms for announcing book sales). But we had reservations about what the goal was at that point: ordering a book and coming to a scheduled promotion. We were fully aware that there was a whole range of reactions on social media and that they were not a mandatory indicator of what our campaign was aiming for.
We did a little analysis:
Like – people have some knowledge, they’ve heard something, they’ve seen it, the reaction is – OK, this is something I’m going to like;
Comment – I understand that the story is difficult, I will react by setting my heart, writing “bravo”;
Share – a greater degree of identification with the whole story;
Ordering a book – full support for the whole story, buying a book supports the work of the Association “Life” and the opportunity to read (or start reading) when you decide;
Coming to the promotion of a book and film – conscious displacement from the comfort zone, a direct collision with an extremely difficult and powerful story. Meeting real people who are part of Zoja’s story.
In the book, we also set up a “quick response code” (QR code) through which the documentary is accessed. In agreement with the book’s authors and the author of the documentary, we wanted to further reward everyone who bought the book.
The promotion took place on 29th September in the fantastic space of the Cultural Station “Svilara” in Novi Sad. In the organisation we received great assistance from the space hosts, as well as the top team “Prime Box” which enabled the direct transfer of the promotion to take place on the outer wall of the building – because we well estimated that the space would not be sufficient for all interested parties.
The number of activations posted by the QR code was also above our expectations. More than half of the people who took the book with them after the promotion activated the code – that is, play the film.
For promotional impressions, we selected a Facebook post from one of the visitors:
Do you know who Zoja Mirosavljevic is?
Until last night, I knew very superficially, as well as most difficult topics, from which I probably consciously defended myself. And as of last night, I know so much about her and her parents, and yet so little compared to everything those people carry inside and beyond.
Last night, the promotion of the book and documentary Zoja was held in Svilara. And not only in Svilara, but in front of Svilara, whose wall is designed for the entire program.
That means a lot of people came to hear the story of a little girl and her parents, their struggle, their courage and persistence. A story about big, small people, real and wrong doctors, good and bad politicians. About bureaucracy, money and the cost of living. Closed doors and open hearts. About civic initiative and perseverance. No pathos, no lots of tears.
It’s sad and it’s hard, but it’s important. It’s important that we know who Zoja is and what rare diseases are. What Zoja’s law brings and how it came about. How many lives he saved and how he continues to save them. What is the value of a single life and how even death does not diminish it.
The value of this story has no price. Therefore, you can buy the book “Zoja” at the price you set for yourself, and all proceeds from the sale are directed to the Association for Children with Rare Diseases. You can order the book here: https://zoja.rs/product/knjiga-zoja/
Promotion in Belgrade is scheduled for 16 March. March, and find more information here: Book and documentary promotion “Zoja” in Belgrade
The scheduled promotion of the book “Zoja” in Belgrade has been postponed due to a well-known situation. We will continue to believe that once extraordinary circumstances have passed.
By the beginning of the state of emergency, book sales were going at an excellent pace, barely getting everything sent, and the funds raised in this way for the Association exceeded all expectations.
Finally, we want to thank Bojana Mirosavljević, Ivana Krgović (authors of the book “Zoja”) and Nenad Mikalački (author of the documentary “Zoja”) for giving us the trust and honour to be a part of something important like this. Every one of us on the team was reading a book, watching a movie and hanging out with them and learning something. To the author of these lines, the meaning of the term “I did everything I could” was given a whole new context.
Thanks to Marija Vekić who, although she stopped being part of the agency during the entire project, made her full contribution to making the promotion of the book “Zoja” a success.