To mark Harlequin’s 60th anniversary, a pop-up gallery was opened in New York’s SoHo district featuring book covers from the last 6 decades and illustrating societal changes over time.   Our target was busy modern women who enjoy reading as personal relaxation time.  We had two challenges:

  1. Perception: change the perception of Harlequin as a dated line of one-track romance novels that are no longer relevant
  2. Execution: take a passive gallery environment and turn it into an interactive and dynamic experience creating a positive and energized perception of the Harlequin brand

Insight:

Readers use Harlequin novels as an escape. It transports them into the time, place and situation of the heroine.

Strategy:

We enabled a woman to choose her own personal Harlequin fantasy and create a cover where she plays the leading role.

Execution:

For the exhibit, we installed an interactive wall that let users navigate using only their hand gestures.

  • They selected their fantasy man/scenario (from cowboy to sheik).
  • Took their own photo.
  • Then got an image of themselves in the arms of their object of desire.
  • They could share their own ‘bookcover’ with their social networks.

Results:

  • North American media coverage including Globe and Mail, CNN and many others.
  • Initial estimates projected that 1/3 of visitors would partake in the experience and complete the creation of a personalized cover. Final numbers showed that approximately 50% of the several thousand visitors created their own cover – all with dozens of gallery onlookers each time.

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