Sweet-toothed Manhattan-based fans of Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries series from Aladdin were in for a treat on June 7, when Simon & Schuster touted the publication of Dork Diaries 3: Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star with a Dork Day celebration at Rockefeller Center. The publisher partnered with Foursquare, the location-based Web and mobile social networking community, and Magnolia Bakery, for a promotion at that company’s Rockefeller Center location.
Foursquare users who checked in at the bakery between noon and 1:00 pm. and purchased a Dork Diaries cupcake were given a free copy of Dork Diaries 3. The bakery sold the cupcakes and gave away Dork Diaries sticker sheets all day long. In addition, Dork Day banners and signage decorated the lobby and elevator banks of S&S’s Rockefeller Center offices, and staffers wore Dork Day t-shirts and buttons throughout the day.
“We wanted to try to get as much focus and buzz using our amazing Rockefeller Center location,” explained Mara Anastas, v-p and deputy publisher of Simon Pulse, Aladdin, Media and Novelty, of this promotion. “Simon & Schuster is a landmark building in the city, and we knew we’d get quite a bit of traffic.” The author announced the event on her blog, and the publisher reached out to local bloggers for additional publicity and posted news of the promotion on the Dork Diaries Facebook page. “So many staffers at S&S have kids who are fans of this series, and word of mouth is the best marketing tool,” Anastas added.
The Dork Diaries series, which has 3.3 million copies in print, has spent 80 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl is currently on PW’s children’s fiction bestseller list. The novels star Nikki Maxwell, who goes to great lengths to keep everyone at her private school—including the girl who’s her nemesis and the boy who’s her crush—from learning that she’s there on scholarship in exchange for her father’s work as the school’s exterminator. In Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star, Nikki enters a school talent competition in which the top prize is a scholarship; winning it will free her father from his obligation—and save her from potential damage to her reputation.
“The author speaks to girls through Nikki,” says Anastas of the series’ popularity. “Embracing being a dork is cool, and fans have come to love Nikki.” The publisher remarks that Dork Day was not only “a great local moment,” but provided exposure that she anticipates will help create early buzz for the next installments of the series, due in October and in June 2012.
In addition to the Rockefeller Center splash, S&S promoted Dork Day with retailer event kits that included t-shirts, activities, buttons, sticker sheets, and bumper stickers. The publisher advertised Dork Day online—to consumers on Poptropica, nick.com, and Twitter, and to the trade.
With the Dork Day promotion, notes Lucille Rettino, director of marketing for S&S’s Children’s Publishing Group, “one of our main goals was to create excitement and drive awareness for the brand, and we think we definitely made an impact.”
Dork Diaries 3: Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star by Rachel Renee Russell. Aladdin, $12.99 June ISBN 978-1-4424-1190-6