Beau Jackson
Apr 15, 2024

Big Brother is watching you: Audible stages 1984 takeover of The Guardian

George Orwell 'returns' to The Observer in new ad campaign.

Big Brother is watching you: Audible stages 1984 takeover of The Guardian

Audible has launched a multi-platform campaign with The Guardian and the Observer Magazine, where George Orwell once wrote, celebrating the release of the Audible Original adaption of his famed dystopian novel 1984.

Online, the campaign features in a dedicated section on The Guardian website, populated with audio teasers, a trailer, quizzes and features on themes of fake news, surveillance and cancel culture, as well as a rundown of the cast of Audible’s adaptation.

Across the site, the audiobook is promoted through a bespoke scroller running in Fabric XL ad slots over the TV, lifestyle, culture, film and book sections.

The Guardian podcast network also features audiobook teaser clips.

A full takeover of the Observer Magazine kicked off the partnership on 7 April with a “turn-to-reveal” redacted coverwrap, and all ad slots filled with Orwell quotes, articles and QR codes.

Albert Hogan, senior director, brand and content marketing, Europe at Audible, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to work with The Guardian to introduce Audible’s adaptation of 1984 to the UK. From Orwell’s connections to The Observer to the resonance of the key themes of the story with the Guardian reader, it felt like the perfect environment to reaffirm the prescience of 1984 in 2024 and let people know there is no more relevant time to listen than right now.”

On 4 April, the date of the first diary entry by the novel’s protagonist Winston Smith, a partnership with Channel 4 brought themed glitching continuity stings to the channel leading up to a 60-second hero ad during Taskmaster.

On Channel 4 online, the partnership was replicated during programme pauses through a glitched 1984 hold screen.

A week later, from the launch day of 11 April, a supporting out-of-home campaign was activated across London Underground and Transport for London stations, supported by a Metro cover-wrap.

Media strategy, planning and buying for the campaign was handled by Wavemaker.

Creative was produced by Alphabetical.

Amy Meikle, head of play at Wavemaker UK, said bringing the themes of 1984 into the modern day was a key driver of the strategy.

She said: “1984 is hands down the most iconic dystopian novels of all time—phrases such as ‘thought police’, ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Room 101’ all feature in our daily lives. Despite this, there are many 1984 ‘fans’ who understand its poignancy and recognise the themes of the novel but haven’t yet read the book.

“The high-impact media activations have been designed to capture their attention, positively provoking them to step inside and experience Orwell’s dystopia of 1984 in 2024.”

(This article first appeared in Campaign UK)

Campaign India

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