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Campaign Spotlight: Abroad in Japan

By Leah Murphy, Emily Lavin, Georgia Rees, Chante-Marie Dante and Annamária Rátki

 

From first landing in Japan to teach English to rice fields and the chaos of Tokyo, Chris Broad has built a name for himself through his Abroad in Japan YouTube channel, which now has over 3 million subscribers. In 2023, he brought his hilarious, insightful anecdotes to readers with the publication of his book, Abroad in Japan.

 

The book documents the decade Broad has spent living in Japan and discusses a range of experiences, including culture clashes, his experience at a love hotel and a terrifying missile incident. With wit and charm, Broad gives readers an insight into this complex and compelling country. In an Instagram post from July 2023, Broad described writing his book as a way to relive “the friendships, the highs, the lows and sometimes, the tragedies along the way,” summarising the experience as “completely worth it.”

 

In this issue, we delve into the marketing campaign for Abroad in Japan, detailing the efforts of the Transworld marketing team to ensure Broad’s online sensation translated to the literary world.

 

Social media

 

To promote Broad’s book on X (formerly Twitter), the Transworld marketing team reposted Abroad in Japan as part of a Black Friday sale on Kindle for 99p with the aim to boost sales. Then, as a way to celebrate Abroad in Japan becoming Waterstones’ Non-Fiction Book of the Month for April 2024, Broad teamed up with Penguin Books UK and Japan Centre to give his UK audience a chance to win a signed paperback edition, along with £100 worth of Japanese treats, making for an authentic experience for fans who enjoy Japanese culture.

 

To further connect with his fans, he also celebrated the publication of his book on his website by giving five lucky winners exclusive copies personally signed by himself. Then, in July of last year, he revealed the book cover on Instagram, detailing his excitement about how he got to work with talented illustrator Matt Saunders, who’s known for his Stephen King book covers.

 

Events

 

Using his popular YouTube channel, from which the bestselling book was born, Broad chose not to hold traditional book events. Whilst it is usual for authors to visit bookshops to talk about their books, meet readers and sign copies, Broad decided to showcase the scenery and popular landmarks of the country he has written about.

 

On 1 April, Chris and his team set out on their biggest challenge yet: a 1,200 km cyclethon across Japan over the course of two weeks, touring through Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and finishing in Tokyo. The endeavour was live-streamed every day, amassing a daily average of 25,000 viewers, who showered the author with praise and encouragement.

 

Along the epic journey, Chris was joined by fellow creators, including Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie, British YouTuber Gigguk and Twitch streamer Premier Two. Reaching the finish line, Chris and his team were met by cheering crowds at Tokyo Tower. The cyclethon was in aid of raising money for the Immune Deficiency Foundation, and they finished the journey with an astonishing total of over $1 million.

 

Whilst this is not a typical way of celebrating and promoting your book, it is undoubtedly creative and extremely effective!

 

Bookshops

 

The importance of striking window displays cannot be underestimated as they often draw people into bookshops and provide that first point of contact with a book. Books stick in people’s minds when they see them displayed in every shop window and promoted inside the shops, and often this is enough to encourage them to give these books a go.

 

With Abroad in Japan being selected as Waterstones’ Non-Fiction Book of the Month for April 2024, many branches across the country created stunning window and shop displays to promote the paperback release. The flagship store in London Piccadilly created a beautiful display across their large window, featuring artfully scattered cherry blossoms as well as some Hokusai-inspired gifts and jigsaws interspersed throughout. Their in-store display was equally as eye-catching with a wall of books and quotes overhung with more of the same cherry blossoms. Most shops chose to use the sprigs of blossom that were sent as part of the POS package from the publishers, along with cut-outs of the mountain from the front cover.

 

Waterstones Lancaster went even further, decorating their front window with paintings of cherry blossoms and creating a replica of the mountain in the background. Both the Kingston and Tenterden shops chose to backdrop their in-store displays with Japanese artworks, whilst High Wycombe appealed to a different crowd by merchandising alongside the new Jellycat ramen bowl.

 

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