Grey New York

Penguin Books

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

The book Thirteen Reasons Why is the fictional story of Hannah Barker, a young girl who committed suicide. She made thirteen tapes - listing her 'reasons why'. Penguin, the publisher, decided to delay the launch of the paperback, and boost sales of the hardcover via a viral campaign.

The agency's concept essentially gave a voice to Hannah's thirteen tapes, releasing them online - completely unbranded. Intriguing messages were then added to the blogs and message boards of the target market (teens between twelve and sixteen). As listeners of the tapes grew and grew, the messaging output was adjusted accordingly.

Overall, sales went up by 140%. Indeed, while the average teen novel sells 15,000 copies in a year, Thirteen Reasons Why accomplished this within a month. Ultimately, the book reached third spot on the New York Times bestseller list.