Dispatches from the Digital Revolution

Recent commercials telling of change in Barnes & Noble’s overall strategy


Is Barnes & Noble changing its brand to compete with Amazon? I mean, it’s already selling more and more non-book items and has been following closely in Amazon’s footsteps with hardware innovations. And, oh yeah, what about that Jane Lynch commercial?

Barnes & Noble’s latest marketing campaign seems almost emblematic of how it is changing its strategy and quite possibly its brand. Take the Nook Tablet ad campaign. It’s Barnes & Noble’s biggest marketing campaign ever, and it is pulling out all the stops, intelligently enlisting author/actor celebrity Jane Lynch.

I am sure you have seen this musical-like commercial, and the even more showy “NOOKsellers at Your Service” commercial below. I am not sure about you, but I certainly have to stop and think, wait, this is a bookseller’s commercial?

Maybe you’ve forgotten, but remember when Barnes & Noble launched its Read Forever campaign to promote the Nook ereader and support the love of reading? That was only a year ago.

In the Read Forever campaign, Barnes & Noble’s message seemed less “Buy, buy, buy” (as in the show-tuney Nook Tablet campaign) and more seriously encouraged the message “reading is what’s important.” The campaign featured non-celebrity people reading, demonstrating that no matter what, whether reading a print book or ebook, reading will exist forever. Quite unlike the dance ensemble strutting around the store, singing about how great the tablet is.

Clearly, today’s message with the tablet is quite different than that of the Nook ereader. I get that Barnes & Noble needs to do what it has to do to compete with the likes of Amazon and stay alive. It’s just that only a year ago, Barnes & Noble focused its efforts to demonstrate the perseverance of the book and appeal to book lovers. And it makes me wonder what Barnes & Noble will become, especially since it’s looking less and less like a bookseller…

Do you think Barnes & Noble’s current marketing campaign is effective? Would it appeal to book lovers as it does to media lovers?

3 comments on “Recent commercials telling of change in Barnes & Noble’s overall strategy

  1. Thad McIlroy
    December 17, 2011

    Gasp. It’s certainly going to raise awareness. It just makes me wonder if Jane Lynch is B&N CEO William Lynch’s sister, cousin or just his new pal.

  2. Jen Bray
    December 18, 2011

    You may have a point Thad – It is quite suspicious how Jane Lynch has become the face of B&N 🙂 Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see where B&N goes from here. Some worry that B&N might be going under in the future- I don’t think it will go under, but I am not sure it’s priority will be selling books. It’s not only evident in their most recent campaign but also with the Nook and Nook Tablet showroom taking over the shelves…

  3. Pingback: The Kleenex of publishing: Kindle and brand recognition « appazoogle

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This entry was posted on December 16, 2011 by in Culture, Opinion and tagged , , .

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