London, 30 June 2008… Penguin scooped a both a win and a second-place commendation at last Thursday's prestigious New Media Age (NMA) Effectiveness Awards 2008 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The win came in the Entertainment category for Blog A Penguin Classic, seeing off competition from E4’s Skins Series 2, The Dexter Treatment submitted by FX and Xtival from Xbox. Presenting the award to Penguin’s Online Content manager, Ashley Wilks, the judges commented, “arguably the hardest job in marketing is to reinvigorate an existing product range with minimal budget, but they felt Blog a Penguin Classic achieved this admirably.”

http://www.blogapenguinclassic.com was designed by Line Industries and launched in August 2007 with the aim of highlighting the full extent of the Penguin classics list and drive a new readership by encouraging frank debate and engagement via a completely user-generated book review and blogging site. Penguin sent out a call to all bloggers and its own mailing lists to ask for willing reviewers. The process was deliberately random, from the allocation of free books to bloggers to the daily publication of uncensored reviews. This resulted in a lot of buzz around the project and many polarized reviews that stimulated debate. The site is simple and easy to navigate, and the full classics list of 1400 plus titles easily accessible. With reviews still being released, the blog has longevity and, with the use of RSS feeds and email notification, Penguin will encourage readers to continue the discussion over the coming years. The blog has proved a cost-effective means of engaging new and existing users in the classics. There are currently between 60,000 and 90,000 unique visitors reading and debating every month.

Penguin also received a commendation in the Special Award for Innovation category for its teen website Spinebreakers, http://www.spinebreakers.co.uk. The winner here was Live Nation and Nokia for its mobile festival guides. Penguin worked with youth marketing agency, Liverty, Content and Code and The Plant to create an online community for teenagers, run by teenagers, with books as the focus for discussion, entertainment and creativity.

The judges of this year’s NMA Effectiveness Awards included Peter Cowley, MD Digital Media at Endermol UK; Mark Howe, Country Director of Google UK; Ross Sleight, Strategy Director, Virgin Games; Hugh Griffiths, Director of Mobile at Microsoft.

Penguin Marketing and Publicity Director Joanna Prior said, “This is the first time Penguin has been short listed for the NMA awards and it is a great honour for us to be recognised for our digital marketing initiatives by experts in the field beyond the publishing industry. These two projects both set out to find new readers for our books by using the social capabilities of new media and with Spinebreakers and Blog A Penguin Classic, we’ve achieved this and created vibrant, engaging content as well.”

For further information, please contact:
Joanna Prior on 020 7010 3250 or joanna.prior@uk.penguingroup.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 30th June 2008