Xerox produces book with 14 award-winning artists

The book, which includes stories from artists such as writer Joyce Carol Oates and singer Aimee Mann, is about the modern workplace.

Company: Xerox and 92nd Street Y
Campaign: Set the Page Free
Agency mix: Y&R (creative AOR), MEC Global (paid media), Text100 (marketing, comms), BerlinRosen Public Affairs (public relations), Ghost Robot (video production)
Duration: September - November 2017

To show the world Xerox is more than just a printing and photocopying company, the brand brought together 14 award-winning writers and creatives to produce a book about the modern workplace.

The collaboration, made possible through Xerox technology, supports 92nd Street Y and Worldreader.

Xerox and its creative AOR, Y&R, began planning for the campaign in March 2017.

"We wanted to showcase Xerox in a unique and creative way that would show people that we're not just about printing and photocopying," explained Toni Clayton-Hine, SVP and CMO at Xerox. "We wanted something that was a teaser campaign and would help us take the idea of collaboration and turn it into a project which could get us a lot of exposure."

The campaign team settled on the idea of creating a digital book that was written by literary figures and artists from around the world. Y&R approached 92nd Street Y, a New York-based cultural organization that advocates for reading and artistry, to act as a cultural collaborator for the book project.

Through 92nd Street Y, Xerox began contacting writers and artists to aid in the collaborative effort.

"We wanted artists with a large social following and also those who were global in nature," said Clayton-Hine.

Over the course of several months, chapters of the book were collected from 14 artists such as authors Lee Child, Jonathan Ames, Sloane Crosley, and Valeria Luiselli; singer Aimee Mann; and poet Billy Collins.

Xerox wanted to trigger donations to 92nd Street Y, as well as to Worldreader, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting global literacy through free digital library access.

Y&R also helped coordinate with Ghost Robot, a production company which shot a documentary series of interviews with several of the artists featured in the book.

The brand designed a website to house campaign content - most notably the free digital book download.

On October 23, Xerox officially released the digital book for the campaign, titled: Speaking of Work: A Tale of Love, Suspense and Paperclips. Media outreach efforts leading up to the release of the book helped drive anticipation for the release, including a placement in the advertising section of The New York Times.

"In terms of coverage, one of the big pieces is that we wanted a story that could be picked up by broader media outlets that could amplify our methods," said Clayton-Hine. "Text100 spent a significant amount of time seeding chapters to different outlets throughout the campaign."

The interactive website for the campaign also launched on October 23. The site includes the documentary series, exclusive photos of the authors’ real work spaces, book excerpts, and podcasts.

On October 27, the brand held a launch event for the book at 92nd Street Y headquarters in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Several of the book contributors spoke at the event, including Child, Alain Mabanckou, Joyce Carol Oates, and Crosley. The event was attended by more than 600 people.

The event also featured a social element, with 92nd Street Y hosting a Periscope live-stream of the authors speaking. Additionally, Xerox ran a Facebook Live stream of the event.

On social, the brand had a paid component to drive traffic to posts and clips of the documentary series.

The website for the campaign received more than 120,000 unique visitors in the first hundred days since its launch. The digital book received more than 3,500 downloads in the first week alone.

On social, campaign content led to more than 150,000 social engagements, measured through click-throughs, likes, retweets, and shares. There have been over 120,000 video views across social platforms for the documentary clips and other video content from the campaign.

Campaign efforts garnered more than 44 pieces of editorial coverage in outlets such as The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes.

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