The graphic novels by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez have gone gangbusters since the first issue’s 2008 release and Audible went to great lengths to record narrations that are as sonically robust as the printed originals are visually arresting. To market this sound-based project, Audible had to get creative with its approach and figure out the best way to communicate a sound-based experience in a visual world.
“If visuals get traction on social media, then how do we visualize the experience of an audio brand?” Reid Armbruster, director of social and digital communications at Audible, says.
The answer? Instagram. But instead of shelling out for some mere sponsored post, Audible built an immersive choose-your-own-adventure type experience with multiple profiles, striking illustrations culled from the original books, and story line snippets that offer up a sampling of Locke & Key‘s universe. Viewers can click through the feeds, see which main characters are tagged in an image and go deeper into the rabbit hole, learning more about the narrative along the way. It’s a clever tactic to tap into the behavior a lot of people now use to discover new things.
“Experience is an overused word these days, but the reason why it makes sense is that the Instagram microsite allows you to navigate and explore the worlds and characters in Locke and Key,” Armbruster says. “It’s like when you go to Wikipedia and eventually spend 45 minutes clicking around before realizing you forgot the question that made you start the search.”
Moreover, Instagram’s interface makes video sharing easy; that made sense for Audible’s storytelling since audio is a big component of a successful clip. “The controls and the display are very straightforward and there’s no room for distraction,” Armbruster says. “It’s the same as being immersed in the audio drama.”
In addition to the Instagram campaign, Audible worked with Firstborn, a digital creative agency, to produce an immersive VR experience promoting the Locke & Key audio book.
“We consider ourselves innovators in the audio space, but the audio drama of Lock & Key is tied to showing a little of what’s possible,” Armbruster says. “We’re just scratching the surface and we’re getting people to our core experience, which is audio. We’re not Instagram, we’re not VR…what we sell is an audio-based experience and using Instagram to shine a light on it is really effective.”