Pin to Collection
Add a note
Industry Business equipment & services, Corporate Image
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Social Media
Product/Service: PERRY RHODAN
Public Relations Consultant: Kai Hirdt (Straub & Linardatos)
Chief Executive Officer: Ion Linardatos (Straub & Linardatos)
Media placement: Twitter Account - Twitter - 18.06.2009
Media placement: Press Conference - East Hotel Hamburg - 08.07.2009
Media placement: Online Raffle - - 08.07.2009

Summary of the Campaign
The pulp novel sci-fi series PERRY RHODAN, the longest running continuing story in the world, released issue 2,500 in July 2009. The editor’s goal for the jubilee was not only to create awareness for the series as a whole, but to especially promote the digital products of the brand to make it appealing for the next generation of readers. Starting with the jubilee, the series’ hero reported live from his space adventures via Twitter. PERRY RHODAN was the first established entertainment brand to use Twitter for creating continuing fictional content. The new service was discussed prominently in sci-fi communities and among communication journalists. Also, it was timed to begin at the height of the Twitter hype in offline media. Since PERRY RHODAN is rather well known in Germany, but only as a classic pulp novel series, most journalists were surprised that the brand was communicating online in this innovative way and researched the other digital engagements to enrich their articles. This led them to promoting the newly released iPhone application, which subsequently made second place in the German iTunes download charts for literature. Additionally, online attention and classic press work generated high-profile coverage on all media channels, reaching 5.7 millions.

The Goal

The campaign had two objectives: to create awareness of the brand as a whole and to especially highlight the digital products of PERRY RHODAN. The benchmark were the results of the PR campaign for issue 2,400, which generated 1,5 millions in print and radio range. In accordance with the focus on digital products, the new campaign concentrated not only on journalists as multipliers, but also directly on sci-fi fans who handle new media naturally: regular contributors to sci-fi groups on social media platforms. They are also opinion leaders and strong multipliers in the sci-fi community.

The Twitter account attracted 300 followers in the first four weeks who discussed their experiences on Facebook, MySpace, XING, and similar platforms, creating a range of at least 88,000 in the second generation. National and regional newspapers as well as news agencies jumped on the topic, creating a circulation of 4,740,904 in print alone – three times the range needed to fulfill the benchmark. PERRY RHODAN made it to the front page of three national newspapers. National tv news and radio featured the series on its jubilee, adding another 892,000 in range. The widespread attention pushed sales of the online products, with the iPhone application reaching second place in the German iTunes charts for literature. The success of the project resulted in the continuation of the Twitter account and its still growing community, fostering the target group of technically well-versed PERRY RHODAN fans.

The PR agency translated the novels’ plots into Twitter messages. Perry Rhodan started tweeting with issue 2496, giving the buzz a month to build before the jubilee. Soon, the account had attracted 300 followers with 88,000 readers in the second generation, and was heavily discussed among science fiction fans and journalists reporting on media developments. A week before the release of issue 2,500, a press conference was held in Hamburg, promoting the jubilee issue, the Twitter stream and the iPhone app. Not only journalists, but also well-connected Twitter users were invited. They reported live and placed questions from their followers worldwide (proving the brand to be cutting-edge with digital developments), and spawned an online raffle of money-can’t-buy-items like a pre-release version of the iPhone app. Internet users could take part by blogging about PERRY RHODAN or retweeting the raffle invitation: to win, one had to create additional range.

The Situation
In the past 48 years, Perry Rhodan has rescued planet Earth from its certain doom hundreds of times. Every week since 1961, a novel about the science fiction hero has been published. Meanwhile, the brand has prospered to hundreds of stand-alone novels, audio books, computer games, several spin-off series, a clothing line and lots more. The recently launched digital products like e-books, downloadable audio books and iPhone novels are lacking public awareness against the well established print products. The series’ jubilee, issue 2,500, provided an opportunity to promote the digital product line. The budget was limited to 5,000 Euros.

The Strategy
To reach both journalists and sci-fi communities, the strategy was to create social media content to be discussed among fans of the genre, thereby generating a topic for journalists. Since most opinion leaders in the hundreds of sci-fi groups used Twitter, this was the means to reach all communities via one single tool: Perry Rhodan’s very own Twitter account. The hero himself reported live from his space adventures in short messages, creating a topic for established communities as well as gathering the brand’s own followers who could subsequently be reached with information about digital products. Also, the free of charge stream introduced story and characters to new readers, motivating them to get in touch with more PERRY RHODAN products. After this first step, the online buzz was transferred into classic media by traditional press work, taking advantage of the Twitter hype in offline media which coincided with issue 2,500.