Penguin Throws a Tantrum

Penguin Throws a Tantrum is my offering for the 2021 D&AD brief. The brief challenges participants to reimagine the role of books in young adults. The reality is simple. Books are at risk, and there’s nothing that can be done. In just a few years, reading rates have declined significantly, up to 10%. Penguin has always been a champion of books and its values. Yet despite everything Penguin has seen people through – 86 years of wars, The Great Depression, a pandemic, revolutions, moon landings, the Internet, another pandemic – it seems that people just don’t read books like they used to.

So Penguin’s had enough. Presenting, Penguin Throws a Tantrum – a social media campaign aimed at encouraging reading… in a different kind of way. For this brief, I exercised my copywriting muscle, writing from perspective of the brand. The copy is meant to be read as jilted and bitter, a tone I hope would capture the attention of Penguin’s audience. Brands never throw tantrums.

A novel, sarcastic and uncharacteristic guerrilla campaign, Penguin Throws a Tantrum injects humour and self-awareness in its execution, adopting the (dry) language of its target audience to make them pay attention. Penguin isn’t kidding. As the campaign develops from subtweeting to selling fake books, even hijacking its own interfaces, the true agenda will be revealed – Penguin Throws a Tantrum is a front for a collaboration with reading and learning partners to introduce a new way of reading.

There are many ways to consume a book, and Penguin acknowledges that. Reading doesn’t have to be from a book, it can be watched, heard. As the chapter closes on the campaign, the audience is empowered to read any way they want to, with the help of Penguin’s education partners Audible, TED, Cliffnotes & Coursera.

Tantrum Tweets

Appealing to the humour of the target audience, Penguin will be tweeting passive-aggressively, priming and catching the attention of the audience; at the same time showcasing the varied and versatile selection of books

The Penguin Anti-Book Posters

The Penguin Anti-Book is a fake book meant for any practical, non-practical, decorative, even destructive needs you can think of. Besides, it's not like you were gonna read it anyway. The copy is short and concise, meant to be shown outdoors and on social media platforms

Penguin's Cart-Out Page

The campaign hijacks Penguin's existing website interface copy, swapping out previous pleasantries with sardonic, irritated comments about the books. Oh, and spoilers

The Penguin Anti-Book

Yes, we threw a tantrum. We're sorry, but we promise it was worth it

The Penguin Anti-Book