The Challenge

They say a Jack Reacher thriller is bought every 9 seconds. The king of this success is author Lee Child – the UK’s biggest selling fiction megabrand author.

With the 25th installment, The Sentinel, Jack Reacher faced his biggest test yet: it had a new author (Child’s younger brother).

Previous backlash following the casting of Tom Cruise cast on screen as the 6ft 4 Reacher, showed us how fickle fans could be.

The future of the franchise was at stake. We needed to give readers absolute confidence that the new release would be bigger and better than ever.

Our Approach

The Brief

Reader data revealed that franchise love is driven by an active (borderline obsessive) fandom for Reacher’s heroism. They love his charisma, confidence, and stature.

Our mission became clear: we needed to hero our hero more than ever.

What we did

To refocus attention on what readers loved most, we built our campaign around the platform “No-one is bigger than Jack Reacher”.

And who better to square up to than James Bond?

With the releases due to coincide, we planned for Reacher to address Bond.  Through a partnership with Everyman cinemas and bespoke creative, Jack would speak directly to cinema audiences before Bond screenings and exclusive content would be distributed in cinemas to kick start excitement.

But all good thrillers have a twist. It’s the element of surprise that keeps a hero on their toes.

With cinemas suddenly shut at our launch, and Bond delayed to 2021, the heart of our plan was pulled from under us.

We channeled our inner Jack Reacher. Thinking on our feet, we flipped our campaign and embraced the thrill of the unexpected.

Pivoting our partnership with Everyman, we instead stole the platform Bond had planned to dominate: we put Reacher’s name in lights.

Starting with the silver screen, we took over the readograph on Screen on the Green for 3 weeks, announcing The Sentinel and encouraging people to ‘Stay home, Read a Book’. Online, a competition via CRM and socials gave Everyman’s audience the chance to win the book.

Next, we hijacked the other places Bond had left vacant. Intel surfaced an opportunity to jump on availability with Bus Supersides and a YouTube video masthead takeover elevating Reacher to cinematic heights, and positioning him as Q4s most daring hero.

The Results

Jack didn’t outshine Bond. He replaced him.

Our bold ideas turned heads and shifted skepticism to endorsement. Beyond 5.5m reached through paid media, earned media on Twitter helped reach an additional 360k followers. Even genre royalty Ian Rankin retweeted our readograph to his 175k followers.

The Sentinel shot to #1 in Bookscan and Sunday Times and was 2020’s 2nd bestselling fiction after just 9 weeks of sales (vs a top 10 released far earlier in the year, averaging 24 weeks to rack up sales).

(Confidential Information)

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