On the other hand, ad agencies find books, bookshops, and libraries a very promising subject in terms of creative potential.
Most of the ads in this list are spoofs, there is no doubt about it. I can’t imagine that a small bookstore could afford an expensive photo shoot, not mentioning placing a two-page ad in color magazines (most of the ads look like double-spreads).
Ad agencies make these ads for their creative portfolios, to raise their creative reputation among clients and on advertising festivals.
And you know what? Unlike chips or alcoholic beverages, I have nothing against making spoofs for books, bookstores, or libraries. In the end, they are for the good cause.
Some of these concepts, like Mint Vinetu bookstore, have been extremely popular on the web. It doesn’t mean people from around the world would be coming to the bookstore in Vilnius the next day. It only means people around the world would be more willing to unplug from the internet and reach for the book.
If any ads are missing here, please leave your hints in the comments. We’ll update the list regularly with new campaigns.
20 most clever ads for books, bookstores, and libraries
1. Unplug with a book
There have been many ad campaigns playing with book titles, but this series of ads for the Oslo bookshop Norlis is particularly timely. We are getting distracted by the digital world. The best way to get focused again is to disconnect and read a good book. Why not tell it by the books themselves?
Agency: Anti, Oslo, Norway
Creative team: Jason Kinsella, Erik Heisholt
2. Don’t forget to read more
This brilliant ad reminds to read more books. Made for Book Day, but works anytime, anywhere. Just look at the stack of post-it notes, and you’ll remember what to do.
Agency: MatosGrey, São Paulo, Brazil
Creative directors: Silvio Matos, Leandro Castilho
Creative team: Ricardo Sarno, Filipe Medici
3. Reading shapes you
These ads for Colombia’s biggest public library Luís Ángel Arango resemble great book art by Mike Stilkey, to support a tagline “reading shapes you”.
Creative team: Juan Pablo Navas, Gustavo Zapata
4. Escape into a book
Books have the wonderful power to take you to another world and escape daily problems the moment you open them. This benefit is perfectly visualized by this series of ads. The opened book and the Penguin logo are more than enough to get to the point.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Singapore
5. Burn after reading
The idea puts the book-burning message of Fahrenheit 451 to the book itself. There is one match – matching number 1 in the title. There is also a matchbook striking paper on the spine of the book. The book seems to tell its reader: You can burn me if you want. The choice is yours.
Client: The Austin Creative Department
Creative director: Will Chau
Art director and designer: Elizabeth Perez
6. And you, why do you read?
Does this campaign for Filigranes bookstore look familiar to you? The idea is originated from the fascinating, well-known book art of Isaac Salazar, who carves words into the pages of old books.
Wow! Hahaha! Yeaaah! And you, why do you read?
Agency: Air, Brussels, Belgium
Creative directors: Grégory Ginterdaele, Marie-Laure Cliquennois
Creative team: Antoinette Ribas, Philippe Fass
7. Don’t buy pirated books
A clever approach to the issue or pirating books: “Every time you get a pirated book, you disrespect its author.”
Agency: Mudra, Mumbai, India
Creative team: Sandip Gaikwad, Srinivas Murthy
9. The right book will always keep you company
The idea to literally visualize the thought “the right book will always keep you company” is what makes this campaign hilarious and memorable. Made for Steimatzky Books, working in every bed.
Agency: ACW Grey Tel-Aviv, Israel
Creative directors: Idan Regev, Tal Riven
Creative team: Kobi Cohen, Daphne Orner
8. Recycled books
A self-explanatory idea for a Singapore bookstore that offers used books.
Agency: Leo Burnett, Singapore
Creative director: Steve Straw
Creative team: Allen Ng, Cheelip
10. For real book lovers
With a tag line “for real reading lovers” these funny print ads convey a simple idea: it’s time to bring books back to their original purpose.
Agency: Filadélfia, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Creative director: Dan Zecchinelli
Creative team: Paulo Filipe Souza, Saul Gervásio, Dan Zecchinelli
11. Life in five seconds
This is a series of minimalist print ads for a brilliant book, Life in 5 Seconds, created and published by a Milan-based advertising studio H-57. In the book, over 200 stories and persons are described in a series of pictograms. Following each story won’t take you more than 5 seconds. The ads are the essence of the book.
Agency: H-57 Creative Station, Italy
Creative directors: Matteo Civaschi, Gianmarco Milesi
Creative team: Matteo Civaschi, Anna Barisani
12. Listen to audiobooks
The ad for Lydbokforlaget, a Norwegian online store with audiobooks. All you have to do it to buy an audiobook and pump up the volume.
Agency: McCann, Oslo, Norway
Creative team: Frank Standal Dybhavn, Geir Florhaug
13. Audiobooks – Lips
Here is another example of the ad for audiobooks. Crossword bookstores visualize the words – spoken.
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, India
Creative directors: Zenobia Pithawalla, Mihir Chanchani
Creative team: Jitendra Patel, Arshad Shaikh
14. Books let you live a double life
A series of imaginative print ads for Stories! bookstore show that if you read books you at the same time live two lives – and that this is happening instantly.
Agency: Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg, Germany
Creative directors: Sascha Hanke, Rolf Leger, Jörg Dittmann, Florian Ludwig
Creative team: Jörg Dittmann, Florian Ludwig
15. Read yourself interesting
You are what you read. People who read more are more interesting. If you want to be more interesting, let Pulp Books recommend you something to read.
Agency: Lowe Bull, Johannesburg, South Africa
Creative director: Rui Alves
Creative team: Juliet Honey, Lee Naidoo
16. Print books cost the earth
The ebook company from India doesn’t exist any longer, but the poster has a universal message, highlighting one of the most important benefits of ebooks.
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, India
Creative directors: Piyush Pandey, Abhijit Avasthi, Suresh Babu, Shekhar Jha
Creative team: Prasad Patil, Vikram Sood
17. A reason to switch to ebooks
Another idea that explores the eco-friendliness of ebooks. Made for Sony Russia, the print ad says “An educated person reads one tree of books per year. Switch to ebooks.”
Agency: Dentsu-Smart, Moscow, Russia
Creative director: Mikhail Kovalev
Creative team: Anastasiya Minailova, Kirill Dikov, Katerina Kovaleva, Arakel Zatikyan
18. Become someone else
Why has this campaign for Mint Vinetu bookstore become extremely popular in social media? Because it creatively describes one of the most desired benefits of books: they can make the reader someone else. Pick your hero at Mint Vinetu… or any other bookstore around the world.
Agency: Love Agency, Vilnius, Lithuania
Creative director: Tomas Ramanauskas
Creative team: Gediminas Saulis, Tomas Ramanauskas
19. A book can change your life
Created for Penguin China, the campaign successfully attempted to describes one’s life in a single picture. Books can change life for the better. The illustrations were made by Bruce Xie. Analyze them in detail – and maybe you’ll find here the story of your life.
Agency: Y&R, Beijing, China
Creative directors: Nils Andersson, Ronnie Wu, Donghai Liu
Creative team: Candy Wang, Ronnie Wu, Jianjun Geng, Nils Andersson, Gao Han, Donghai Liu
1. Almost as good as new
This series of print ads for Avelar Machado bookstore, offering used books, is fantastic. You’ll just have to take a closer look at the photos to get to the point: books at Avelar Machado are almost as good as new.
Agency: DraftFCB, Lisbon, Portugal
Creative directors: Duarte Pinheiro de Melo, Luis Silva Dias
Creative team: Ana Quina, Viton Araujo
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