A book launch gets a social twist

Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn didn't want to simply promote their new book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (published by Knopf September 14).

Clients: Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (New York)
Agency: Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (Seattle, WA) and Fenton Communications (New York, NY)
Campaign: Half the Sky Movement: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (book launch
Duration: July – September 2009
Budget: $135,000 (Web site and online components - $75,000; NGO outreach - $60,000)

Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn didn't want to simply promote their new book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (published by Knopf September 14). They wanted to start a social movement around the issues, which WuDunn says include brutality, poverty, economic empowerment, and education. Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) and Fenton Communications were tapped to help.

“The book is an intellectual foundation,” WuDunn explains. “But book reading isn't America's favorite pastime. The Web is more conducive to allowing people to take action.”

WE developed HalfTheSkyMovement.org and led social media components. Fenton worked with 54 NGOs mentioned in the book. Knopf handled traditional book PR.

Strategy
The Web site served to educate audiences and let them share information via social media tools, and also united the NGOs. COO of Fenton Communications Lisa Witter says uniting the NGOs to garner support and raise awareness was an important component of the campaign. Caroline Sanderson, SVP in WE's social innovation practice, adds that the site would also amplify Knopf's traditional book promotion.

Tactics
The Web site launched in August to coincide with a The New York Times Magazine special issue “Saving the World's Women,” in which Kristof and WuDunn adapted a cover story from their book.

The site includes stories and photos of people facing the issues; NGO information; book reviews, links to media coverage; and a visitors forum.

A “Spread the Word” section lets visitors share information via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, and Digg.

Coverage on The Oprah Winfrey Show (October 1 and December 1) led WE to work with an Oprah.com producer to endorse and promote the social networking tools as a free way to join the movement. Because Kristof's Facebook and Twitter audiences are huge, Sanderson says the team decided to “piggyback” on his pages rather than create dedicated ones.

An internal site was built for the NGOs to interact with one another and to share and receive information such as artwork, publicity schedules, and social media ideas. Witter says NGOs also participate in regular conference calls led by Fenton. NGOs promote the cause and the book in various ways, including mass e-mails and hosting author speaking engagements. NGOs Mercy Corps and EngenderHealth created a reader's guide and a reader's companion for the book, respectively.

Results
Halftheskymovement.org total visitors exceed 240,000 (averaging 2,100 per day). More than 81,000 have used the site's information sharing tools. Fenton reports that the Web sites of about 18 of the 34 NGOs attracted a total of 602,531 visitors in November.

Since launch, more than 5,000 tweets have mentioned “Half the Sky.” Kristof personally has 860,937 Twitter followers and 145,798 Facebook fans. In mid-October, he tweeted that Oprah coverage resulted in $3.5 million in donations for NGO's.

Future
WuDunn hopes to keep working with the agencies to drive momentum. She's considering developing online games to inspire audiences to action.

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