Penguin Books: Tweet for a Read


Client: Penguin Random House
Product: Penguin Books
Category: Arts & Education
Agency: Mood/TBWA
Country: Brazil
Year: 2015


Campaign Summary

In the world of mobile devices and social media, the art of reading books is losing ground. When people begin to read a book, they commonly put it down and don’t finish it. Penguin Books in Brazil decided to address this problem by expanding the book market. The idea was to use mobile technology to give books a voice on social media, encouraging digital readers to return to paper. Penguin Books created the "Tweet for a Read" campaign in Brazil to promote its brand in order to bring readers back to their books.


Objective and Context

Penguin Books is one of the most respected publishers in the world. Penguin wanted to use social media to expand the paper book market in an attempt to bring readers back to books. The target audience for the  Tweet for a Read" campaign was everyday readers, especially those who change their reading habits for other options, like surfing the Internet and spending hours on social media. What Penguin aimed to do was to convince sporadic readers to return to their books and continue reading.

Would Penguin be able to give paper books a fighting chance?


Creative Strategy

The idea was to give readers a voice on social media, bringing digital readers back to hardback and paperback books. To achieve this goal, Penguin developed a wearable bookmark that sends a tweet to readers to remind them to return to their books every time more than a week goes by without their opening them.

The wearable bookmark is equipped with a timer, a light sensor on the bottom and a nanocomputer with a wifi chip on the top. Every time the book is closed, the sensor detects the blackout and starts a countdown. If the book isn’t opened after a week passes, the nanocomputer logs onto a wifi network and sends a tweet to the reader featuring excerpts from the book. Since social media in Brazil is mainly accessed via smartphones -- close to 80 percent of all social media access -- the tweets reached readers right in their pockets. The bookmark kept sending new tweets until the book was opened again.

With no media spend, Penguin created a strategy focused on creative activation, accomplishing big results with free media and coverage. Ultimately, the message crossed borders and spread across the world.


Below are the results of the campaign:

  • "Tweet for a Read" generated worldwide response and over $2.1 million in earned media despite being a product available only in Brazil.
  • Coverage on Brazilian main news channel GloboNews had journalists in different parts of the world discussing the idea.
  • "Tweet for a Read" was named one of the Top 10 Innovation and Advertising Ideas of 2014. Most importantly, the campaign encouraged readers to continue reading books.
  • "Tweet for a Read" prototypes sold out in just a few days. Each day, more and more readers requested the product. After the campaign, Penguin began the process of making an industry-scale "Tweet for a Read" product to meet this demand.



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