International Women's Day: Giant book in Victoria Square.

Liquid’s Birmingham office is, as you might expect, full of strong, proud women.

So when we were invited to support a Birmingham City Council project celebrating local women, we jumped at the chance.

Birmingham City Council created the book “Once Upon A Time In Birmingham: Women Who Dared To Dream” to tell the stories of fearless females, past and present. With an all-female team including publishing house The Emma Press, author Louise Palfreyman and illustrators, the book was conceived as part of the council’s campaign to mark the centenary of women winning the right to vote.

The brief

Having launched “Once Upon A Time In Birmingham” at Birmingham Literature Festival, Liquid was tasked with raising awareness of the publication and driving sales. We had already secured media coverage for the individual stories featured in the book and needed a strategic campaign to turn intrigue into sales. We recognised part of the barrier to entry was getting the book in front of people in the first place. Once you’ve seen it, you have to have it. And this sparked our creative idea, which coincided with World Book Day and International Women’s Day.

What we did

Two of Birmingham’s favourite statues celebrating women are in Victoria Square – Queen Victoria and “The River,” affectionately known as “The Floozie In The Jacuzzi.” Part of the city landscape and a source of civic pride, we decided The Floozie was ideal to capture the imagination of Brummies for the book project. For one week, we had a giant replica of “Once Upon A Time In Birmingham” installed in the “bowl” of The Floozie. The book was positioned at The Floozie’s eye level, so it looked like she was reading it. We also created design assets for use on Instagram, combining beautiful imagery and empowering words with a direct call to action and a link to purchase.

The result

Within hours of the installation’s completion, the stunt was being talked about across the city and on social media, with politicians, bloggers, the media and local people sharing pictures of The Floozie and her new favourite read.

To complement this activity, we managed creative executions across paid social media with ads to hook in target audiences (e.g. mothers in and around Birmingham, female family members) to take them directly to the point of sale. This activity reached 350,000 people with links to Birmingham, driving more than 2,000 click throughs to The Emma Press’ online shop.

We also got “Once Upon A Time In Birmingham” in front of new audiences by hosting two intimate events at book stores. The first event, held at Foyles, was a networking event targeted at female professionals and featured inspiring talks from three women whose stories are included in the book. The second event was held at Waterstones to coincide with International Women’s Day and targeted girls, young women and their family members/guardians. The events resulted in more than 50 direct sales of the book, as well as associated merchandise including tote bags, wrapping paper and badges.

To date, Birmingham City Council has sold thousands of copies of “Once Upon A Time In Birmingham: Women Who Dared To Dream.” Through careful targeting, on-the-ground engagement and a savvy showcase of the book, Liquid broadened the book’s audience and helped give women and girls in the Midlands and beyond something brilliant, refreshing and inspiring to read.

A perfect book at bedtime.