Wordstock Literary Festival

Wordstock is the largest literary festival in the Pacific Northwest and a longstanding client of WK.12. The festival brings in authors from across the globe for a week of readings, panels and parties while regularly attracting over ten thousand locals a year.

Now in its 8th year, Wordstock had a new festival director and was looking to shake things up and raise attendance. They were hoping that advertising their array of sex-related authors would help attract a larger crowd. We took their sexy theme and used it to emphasize the range of events happening at the action-packed festival. Wordstock is no staid literary fair. It’s a weeklong book-fueled bender.

We rebranded all their social media and collateral and hit the town with a sandwich-board-wearing street team. I coordinated a series of live mobile author readings in the week leading up to the festival. We set up the iconic red Wordstock chair in a new location everyday and invited Wordstock authors to present excerpts from their work. Hundreds of passerbys were informed of the festival as we handed out buttons, bookmarks, and event guides. Additionally, we shared a password each day over social media. The first few people who walked up with the password were rewarded with free passes to the festival. Oregon Public Broadcasting learned about our pop-up reading series from twitter and wrote an article the project.

Every year Wordstock's, often punny, buttons become something of a collectors item and this year's 'sex' theme offered a lot of opportunities. Here are a few of the buttons I wrote:

I also wrote and co-directed a TV commercial (with a budget of $0) that ran on a number of local channels:

And, just for kicks, here's a manifesto I wrote for an idea that got pitched to clients but we didn't end up pursuing:

Flirt with Wordstock

There’s a ton of exciting things happening at Wordstock; you can attend hundreds of compelling author readings, listen in on thoughtful panel discussions, sit in on a writer’s workshop. But who are we kidding - the best part is that you’re doing it with thousands of other like minded (and often attractive) literate people. Wordstock attendees are Portlanders who love curling up with a good book, supporting independent local presses, and occasionally embarrassing themselves at a poetry slam.

So what are you waiting for?

Talk to that dude with the awesome mustache who’s sitting in the front row of the Jon Raymond reading.  Chat to that woman selling copies of her zine that chronicles her extensive collection of cat whiskers. And approach that author who just read that emotionally staggering break-up scene from his new memoir - he looks like he’s still single.

You’re guaranteed to leave Wordstock with some new insight, you’ll probably leave with a bagful of books, and odds are good that you’ll be going home with another passionate reader. Heck, you may even go home with a Peabody winner. So start working on those pick-up lines because you’re going to Portland’s biggest literary mixer.

I worked with Bethany Ng to mock up some print ads and possible covers for their festival guide: