Pan Macmillan is inviting online "influencers" and "brand advocates" to host hundreds of house parties simultaneously across the UK to help promote books.
Taking place UK-wide, each "event" will be themed around a key Pan Macmillan title or imprint, consisting of around 100 parties of between five-10 people, all united by social media. Ultimately the goal is to drive engagement with the Pan Macmillan brand through these "powerful in-home experiences". The publisher says it hopes to generate "authentic word of mouth, measurable awareness, shareable content, product reviews and consumer insight" from the gatherings.
Pan Macmillan has partnered with marketing agency Come Round to cover four main Pan Macmillan events, with ages ranging from toddler to adult. The exclusive partnership will also give the publisher the opportunity to participate in other Come Round campaigns as official book partner to its other clients across consumer electronics and entertainment sectors. In total this will equate to more than 500 individual parties celebrating Pan Macmillan books and authors.
The first event in the partnership will be for the Goth Girl series by Chris Riddell, running on 22nd and 23rd July, aiming to build up to the release of the fourth Goth Girl hardback, Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony, in September. Altogether there will be 50 parties, hosted by parents for children aged eight-12 years. The theme of these will be baking, centred around forthcoming book Fete Worse Than Death, out in paperback 29th June, encouraging parents and children to bake Goth Girl-inspired creations on the day, followed by reading groups discussing the books later in the afternoon and evening. Facebook Live activity on Chris Riddell's Facebook page, which has 40k fans, will take place simultaneously.
The partnership with Come Round follows on from a pilot scheme was run between it and Pan Macmillan’s teen and Young Adult community platform MyKindaBook (MKB) in October 2016, where key titles were shared for book club events. More than 600 guests were hosted over the same weekend, who were given various MKB branded materials to take home, as well as books and discussion notes. They also were asked to set specific tasks to complete as part of their MKB party, including uploading content using the #MKBParty hashtag.
Sara Lloyd, director of communications and digital at Pan Macmillan, said: "We met with Giles and his team and immediately loved their approach to engagement and their approach to peer-to-peer discussions. It matched our longstanding conversations about audience and engagement; we know that a novel finds its best and widest audience through personal recommendation. Working with Come Round will help us reach more readers and enable us to introduce them to great stories, but we will also have the opportunity to get to know our readers better.”
Giles Harris, founder of Come Round, added: "Insight tells us that consumers are far more likely to recommend and purchase books that have been recommended to them by someone they know and trust. Our mechanic brings those people together and gives them the most informal and conversation-starting environment possible – house parties with their friends. Given the sheer breadth and quality of their titles, Pan Macmillan is the perfect partner for us as we expand into the book publishing sector.”