A flip book for the record books

This project was a handful (photo by Thomas Duane)

This project was a handful (photo by Thomas Duane)

Sometimes I get to create something that’s never been done before. That was the case when the founder of marketing communications firm Neohatch Thomas Duane, along with sports and event marketing agency Woolf Associates, asked me to help produce a 32-page, 32″ wide by 20″ tall flip book for their client FlippSports.

A flip book has pages bound together with slightly different sequential images on each page. As you flip the pages quickly, the images animate and move. FlippSports created a series of these palm-sized books highlighting plays by famous baseball players to sell as collectibles – sort of like a baseball card on steroids.

Photo by Thomas Duane

Photo by Thomas Duane

Woolf Associates, at that point a division of advertising giant Arnold & Company, had lots of experience creating product tie-ins with sports events and stars, including Flutie Flakes cereal. Neohatch also had it’s share of experience with sports marketing, guiding projects like a partnership between Campbell’s Soup and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, as well as creating a branding strategy for WBA Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz.  The goal for the giant flip book was to create excitement about the small products by getting the big one listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

My challenge was to make it work effectively (the pages had to line up perfectly for the animation to work), be durable (to draw people into the FlippSports booth to try it out at public events) and work flipping from both directions. I also had to figure out a way to bind it together, a bit challenging since nobody manufactures a binding method for a coffee table book bigger than a coffee table. (Thanks, Home Depot.)

In one direction the book profiled Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox in motion, while the other direction showed Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. Due to the size, you could only see the animated action when someone else flipped the pages for you. The finished book was a huge success for FlippSports with people lining up in front of their booth at different events for the chance to try flipping the book themselves.

Crowds lined up for a chance to take a flip (photo by Thomas Duane)

Crowds lined up for a chance to take a flip (photo by Thomas Duane)

Unfortunately, a great promotion didn’t get a large enough group of people to pay $6.00 each for the regular-sized flip books to keep FlippSports in business, although you can still find their products on Ebay. Woolf Associates also disappeared, absorbed into the Arnold Worldwide conglomerate.

I think this girl needed a little help. (photo by Thomas Duane)

I think this girl needed a little help. (photo by Thomas Duane)

Weighing about 25 pounds, it was something you really had to hold to appreciate. I’d love to know where it ended up after FlippSports went belly up. If any of you had a chance to see the book, or know what happened to it, please share your comments here.

With over 30 years of working inside and outside printing, promotional and marketing companies, Jamie Bradley helps clients source and produce great marketing materials. He writes these occasional blogs to share ideas on how to create better and more effective products.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,