Tim Weaver’s MISSING

Client: Penguin

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The challenge

Tim Weaver is a terrific author in a cluttered category. His David Raker novels are well-researched, provocative mysteries about missing persons – but the shelves of booksellers are packed with crime novels. How could we make Tim Weaver into a name that readers would seek out?

Audience insight

The ‘crime’ category was just too cluttered, so we needed to make our own – missing person’s mysteries. They’re more nuanced, more tense, more mysterious than your bog-standard thriller: all traits appreciated by our incisive, literate audience. So we set out to define this new genre, and position Tim Weaver as its exemplar.

We also knew our audience were up for a challenge, and willing to devote themselves to activities they found rewarding. Rather than a traditional advertising campaign, we set off on a content-led approach: creating ‘a British Serial’ for an audience of educated, articulate UK listeners.

Our solution was to create Tim Weaver’s MISSING, an eight-part podcast series in which Tim Weaver worked with experts to investigate the art and science of disappearing. Weaver’s guests included everyone from historians to psychologists, hackers to psychics. Ultimately, the show sought to answer the question ‘is it possible to disappear?’. Supported by organic Twitter activity and a bespoke Facebook community, the podcast ran from 8 weeks, starting in October 2015. 

Results

  • MISSING dominated the iTunes charts for over two months – consistently battling Serial for the #1 spot in ‘News and Politics’ and even reaching #2 in the overall charts.
  • The show has over 300,000 listens to date, and is still gaining more than 1,000 each day.
  • The campaign had a total social reach of 3.9m people over the 8 week period, including 664,000 Facebook engagements.
  • Listeners loved it, with an average rating of 4.8/5 on iTunes.
  • Tim Weaver’s new hardback, What Remains, hit the bestseller charts, reaching as high as #7.
  • MISSING was a finalist for the FutureBook and PR Moment Awards, as well as one of iTunes' Best of 2015

One more thing:

As well as recognition within the literary and crime-reading communities, Tim Weaver was invited to speak at the annual conference of the Forensic and Policing Services!