Scion of Ikshvaku
After the success of Shiva Trilogy, Amish's next book was most awaited - not only by readers but even by publication stalwarts. Amish had made the concept of mythology fiction quite popular and a new breed of authors writing on mythology fiction started emerging. The SOI had a large print run and hence the stakes were high. The challenge was to ensure massive success for the first book of this new series, as well as create huge noise at the pre-release stage itself.
Digital Outreach – Mystery box:
In his last book The Oath of the Vayuputras, Amish had left a hint about what his next book would be. So while speculations were rife, the perpetual question was ‘What’s the next from Amish’. We used this hook to generate buzz among the fans.
The best place to start for any franchise is to start with existing fans. We decided to reward them by giving them an exclusive peek preview into Amish’s next book, in return for being active participants in the viral marketing plan. The campaign was titled ‘What next Amish?’ and as part of it we created exotic mystery boxes. Each mystery box contained tastefully crafted collectibles which also doubled up as cryptic clues giving hints to what Amish was writing about next. These boxes were targeted at influencers, journalists and his closest fans. Fans had to put unboxing videos on social media and tag their friends to seek help to answer the questions.
The objective of this exercise was to spread beyond existing fans to a much larger audience through sheer virality. The plan worked as fans, influencers played detectives trying to solve the clues and guess Amish’s next book. Social media was flooded with unboxing videos and the activity also got its own share of free PR.
This set the stage for the Jaipur lit fest where the official announcement of the next book was supposed to be made.
It is here that we launched the first video of Scion of Ikshvaku, which was the official hymn of the series brought to life by a riveting music score by Kartik Shah.
To flag off the book release date, we created a full trailer of the book; adding in more glimpses of the book details, and the storyline. The trailer was a big budget production which would match the scale of a big movie. There were horses elephants and high quality computer graphics used in the trailer. The trailer almost resembled a big budget mythological movie. Such a high value production also needed an equally unique launch. Instead of conducting a regular press conference it was decided to do a twitter chat between Amish and celebrated director and film maker Karan Johar. The twitter chat generated tremendous virality and the trailer launch was trending in 16 cities for a few hours (details to be verified). A lot of people mistook this trailer to be the trailer for the movie.
Amish's previous book cover designs have always stood out with an interesting way to show ‘God' in the concept of the book. Amish also preferred to never show the face of the characters, since it may mar the readers’ imagination. Our book cover design aimed to use Amish's thoughts and concept, also keeping it tied to all the future books in the series. The book cover sought to create curiosity by creating an intriguing looking version of the Pushpak Viman and recreated the climactic scene of Ram trying to prevent the kidnapping of his wife Sita. The cover was launched with great fanfare in a press conference with Akshay Kumar and the design took forward a huge wave of virality.
In addition to the marketing success of this campaign, we also ended up creating another premium SKU for the basic book. This was a limited edition Collector’s pack, sold at a premium. This pack was conceptualized by us in such a way that it demonstrated extended shelf-life for the product. It included an ancient looking ornate wooden box, with a wooden seal carrying the stamp of ‘The name of Lord Ram & Lord Shiva’ in the Indus Valley script. A personalized letter from Amish encouraged people to start any new task with the Lords’ name using the stamp. It also carried a lenticular book mark where the lenticular mechanism toggled between the Sanskrit and the English versions of the official Ramchandra series hymn.
Needless to say the book entered into the bestseller club on the day of release and continued to be on top for weeks to come. SOI became the largest selling book of 2015.