Wednesday, March 4, 2009

mother of all media buys

You think media placement for your client is complicated? Don't go whining to Katherine Kinsella. With a budget of less than $8 million, she had to reach the entire literate world.

Her client? Google. On October 28, Google settled a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of authors whose works it scanned for its ambitious Book Project, an ongoing attempt to digitize every book on earth, creating the universe's most comprehensive (and searchable) virtual public library.

According to today's New York Times, Google agreed to pay $125 million to create a system by which customers will pay to read a copyrighted book, with Google and the writer both taking percentages. But before writers can be paid, they need to be found.

How to reach writers in every country of the world?

"We recommended print ads to reach writers. Because writers are readers," explained Kinsella, president of Kinsella Media, an ad agency specializing in notices for class action lawsuits. She advised the company at the forefront of digital space to concentrate its spending in analog media: newspapers, magazines, even poetry journals.

That meant negotiating space sales all over the world, except in countries where buys are prohibited due to US trade embargoes: Cuba, North Korea and Burma⎯oops, Myanmar.

"Some publications wouldn't let us buy space at first," laughed Katherine, when I spoke with her today. "Because they were afraid of pissing off Google. They didn't want to be on the wrong side of a company that big."

"Newspapers in Costa Rica, Brazil and Russia flat out refused our money," recalled Belinda Bulger, an attorney who worked with Kinsella on the project, "until they figured out the buy was legit because they saw the ads running elsewhere, in other countries or in competitive journals."

As challenging as the buy, was translating the ad into 70 languages."We had to figure out how to communicate words and phrases that don't exist in other countries and cultures," Katherine said, adding,"There's nothing we'll be afraid to take on, after this."

Print ads drive target to a website (also in your choice of 70 languages) that describes the settlement in excruciating detail, even down to defining the word "Book": a written or printed work…on sheets of paper bound together. (Hail from a bleak and paperless future.)

But if you're an author (I'm talking to you, Bob, Steffan, George) don’t get your hopes up for payouts to offset depleted 401Ks. Payment for each book is $60 and made only once, no separate payments for hardback and paperback. If you're the author of, say, an essay in an anthology, you've got (woohoo) five bucks from Google coming your way.

Sorry, ad copy isn't part of the settlement. Copyright is protected, not copywrite.

1 comment:


It'll be the only 60 bucks I ever made on that damn book.