Coupland gets a crush on iTunes

Random House teamed up with Crush and iTunes to promote Douglas Coupland's latest book, Generation A, to the dismay of letter Js everywhere.

Random House teamed up with Crush and iTunes to promote Douglas Coupland’s latest book, Generation A, to the dismay of letter Js everywhere.

To understand the previous sentence, you must a) be Coupland’s biggest fan or b) have watched the three video podcasts exclusively available on iTunes in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. for the first two weeks of September.

Gary Thomas, creative director at Toronto-based Crush, says that, as with the animations they made in 2007 for Coupland’s last novel, The Gum Thief, his team took the book as the creative starting point. One of the Gen A videos features an unrehearsed Coupland in an airtight room (actually his house in B.C.) answering interview questions posed by a disembodied voice. The Q&A is interspersed with faux ads for a pharmaceutical drug called Solon and promos for the Channel 3 news team – all clues to the story. As for the other two videos, one tells the story of the news team’s gruesome end, and one sees the world through the Curlew-coloured glasses of paint chips. A trailer for the podcasts released on YouTube has Coupland naming J as ‘the most evil letter.’

The publisher credits the strategy with driving early successes for the book, which went on sale in stores the same day the videos launched. ‘Let’s put it this way: Coupland went on the Maclean’s bestseller list [on Sept. 14], and on [Sept. 12] he went on the Canadian Globe and Mail bestseller list,’ says Sharon Klein, deputy director, publicity, Random House. ‘And none of my media [interviews and other promotions] had run yet.’ The videos were subsequently released on YouTube and the Random House website on Sept. 15.