HarperCollins went deep and digital

Haven't yet heard of Londonstani, the sizzling new novel about British-born Asian gangstas in the mean streets of the U.K.? You will, thanks to the most innovative book campaign since Jack McClelland led a parade of chariots and gladiators down Yonge Street in a blizzard.

Haven’t yet heard of Londonstani, the sizzling new novel about British-born Asian gangstas in the mean streets of the U.K.? You will, thanks to the most innovative book campaign since Jack McClelland led a parade of chariots and gladiators down Yonge Street in a blizzard.

HarperCollins Canada is pulling out all the stops for Gautam Malkani’s buzzed-about debut novel, which just hit Maclean’s bestseller list and was described by a reviewer as ‘street-wise, blinged-out Sikh teenagers running riot in a London suburb.’

Realizing that an unconventional book needed an equally gangsta marketing strategy, an HC team led by marketing managers Shelley Tangney and Lindsey Lowy came up with a pervasive online, OOH and multicultural campaign. Prior to the book’s July 8 publication, HarperCollins unleashed an Internet-based Flash trailer (at www.londonstani.ca) to alert booksellers, reviewers and the general news media to check it out.

Also, Malkani was the first author featured in HarperCollins’ new podcast program on its Foursevens Podcast Network, which launched July 17 (the HC Prosecast program is downloadable from www.CanadaPodcasts.ca).

Books don’t typically do graffiti, but they went ‘street’ on this one, spray-painting the book’s tiger logo and URL around Toronto and Vancouver. Tiger logo pins and postcards featuring slang definitions from the book, such as ‘desi rudeboy’ (Asian youth who ape the American gangsta subculture) were also distributed in

urban hot spots.

HarperCollins also went deep into the South Asian community, promoting the book via www.MyBindi.com, the largest South Asian portal in North America, as well as popular urban South Asian magazine Anokhi. And working with Golden Eye Media, the book trailer will screen at South Asian movie theatres in the Toronto area, with copies sold at concession stands. Even the promotional T’s sent to book retailers were made by South Asian clothing manufacturer DesiWear. Now that’s Sikh cred.