Advertising, propaganda, and marketing can sometimes define the difference between an idea that skyrockets in the general public or one that crashes after liftoff.
Upon release of his book, positive reviews immediately surfaced on websites such as Gizmodo and Goodreads targeting the obvious ideal audience: gamers, readers, and web surfers. By advertising his young adult science fiction/dystopian style online and stressing the nerdy themes, anyone with a remote interest would find it difficult to ignore. Cline, an avid gamer himself, made it clear that the book would feature a multitude of “easter eggs” for the readers to connect to outside realms such as Lord of the Rings, Stephen King, and other different videogames. These references draw in old and young generations looking to get caught up in a sci-fi with familiar throw-backs. Even the title, Ready Player One, instills a sense of nostalgia for old school arcade games which ultimately prompts attention to the book.
Recently there has been talk of Stephen Spielberg directing a major motion picture representing Ernest Cline’s masterpiece. Although the advertising hasn’t yet peaked for the movie, there seems to be a subtle strategy in place. Ernest Cline appears to be focusing on other projects instead of playing the market which, as it turns out, is working pretty well. Most of the marketing for the movie stems from outside sources, mostly fans of the book expressing excitement for the upcoming movie. This passive form of advertising may actually lead to massive success as people generally choose their movies or books based on recommendations from peers. In theory, because of the book’s popularity, the movie advertises for itself through mainstream media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. As long as the marketing team continues releasing tidbits from the filming process to keep the public hooked, suspense for the movie’s release will fuel the ratings and boost book sales.
I first discovered Ready Player One on Goodreads as one of the books recommended for me. I had never heard of Ernest Cline or seen any mention of his book. The portrayal of the cover, a boy climbing up a ragged pile of trailers with “Ready Player One” sprawled in neon orange, is what captivated me. The connection of the title to the videogames I would play with my dad growing up peaked my interest and gave me a clue to the potential style of the book. I eagerly waited a few days to get the book and then immediately dove in expecting a science fiction reality set in a video game universe. Suffice to say I was not disappointed… the book surpassed my expectations and managed to deliver on the plot I was promised. Thanks to Ernest Cline, I can safely say Ready Player One continues to pave the way for future science fiction novels’ survival in pop culture.
Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. Random House, 2011.
IMDb. IMDb.com, 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.