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Watch those words: NZ Book Council aims to get more kids into reading by harnessing the power of film

Watch those words: NZ Book Council aims to get more kids into reading by harnessing the power of film

The New Zealand Book Council (NZBC) is on a mission to improve the country’s literacy rates so it’s teamed up with Colenso BBDO and Assembly to create a campaign encouraging Kiwi kids to read the books that inspired their favourite movies.

Recent research showed "that 86% of New Zealand adults had read or started to read at least one book in the past year, down from 88% last year", so New Zealanders still love books. And while some have questioned the data, most agree that the more reading the better. But with New Zealand’s 2016 Social Report showing just 44 percent of Kiwi men aged 16-24 have achieved at or above level three literacy, the level needed to function in day-to-day society, there's plenty of work to be done to promote the benefits of reading to certain demographics. So, to do this, the campaign features a series of ‘book trailers’. 

These trailers are animated videos, by Assembly, designed to play before trailers for blockbusters based on books, encouraging kids to make the movie even better, by reading the book that inspired it.

Ahead of the release of the film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald later this year, the campaign references J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, telling the audience to prepare for the film by reading the book.

“A little preparation wouldn’t hurt,” it reads. “Make the movie even better. Read the book that inspired it.”

The video has been targeted to play before YouTube trailers for the film as well as on the big screen in cinemas.

The idea of using films to encourage kids to pick up books comes from an insight gained in a series of co-design workshops with Kiwi boys aged 10-15. The NZBC joined with the National Library and Duffy Books in Homes to consult directly with the boys and learn that reading needed to be more closely linked with the activities they enjoy most – like going to the movies.

“From The Hunger Games to Harry Potter, some of the world’s biggest films were actually based on books,” says NZBC CEO Jo Cribb. “So we thought if that link already exists, let’s make the most of it.”

Another partnership with UK publishing powerhouse Bloomsbury was needed to create the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer.

“The NZBC wants to find new ways to re-engage boys with the joy of reading,” says Cribb. “And it’s been wonderful to work with so many different organisations on a project that does exactly that.”

The campaign launched on International Literacy Day, 8 September, and will run up until the release of the new Fantastic Beasts film in November.

The video will be supported by digital posters in cinema lobbies, along with Digital Video Walls, and digital banners across national online ticketing sites.

This story originally appeared on StopPress

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