Mother Foucault's Bookshop

Strategy & Design

Mother Foucault's is a small, modest, privately-owned used bookshop in Portland. The owner cares a great deal about which books he chooses to sell, therefore every book in the store is a gem. He came to Portland State looking for advertising ideas, but he felt like most advertising was manipulative, and wanted to stay as far away from being manipulative as possible. The owner also did not want anything digital to promote his shop. He was not a Luddite, but merely thought technology was a distraction, thus chose never to learn to use it. He also had a minimal budget.

Upon visiting the bookshop, and exploring the vast, but curated, selection of brilliant books, my team and I saw this shop as a haven for beautiful books, like they would be happy to end up here. This led us to the big idea for our campaign:

"The Lost Books"

Pictured below is a representation of how The Lost Books will look. They will then be placed around Portland in locations where we suspect our target market may frequent. The person who finds the book is more than welcome to do what he or she pleases with it, but the hope is that he or she will read it and pass it along. The tag will have the store's name and address on it as well as encourage the books discoverer to pick up the book and read it. Since the idea is pass on the books, the inside of the books will be stamped with an indelible mark that will tie each book back to this campaign.*

*Mother Foucault's uses a stamp to mark every book that is sold in that store. The owner likely picked up from his time working at Shakespeare and Company in Paris, a gathering place for writers like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and James Joyce. The influence of his time there is apparent in the books he chooses to sell.


The strength of this campaign lies in its probability of gaining free media from its unusual method of promotion. In addition to the Lost Books, this campaign will also be supported with direct mail and cinema ads. The design direct mail will resemble Penguin classics, a book that would not look out of place on the shelves of Mother Foucault's. The copy on the back of the post card is influenced by the idea of Lost Books finding their haven at Mother Foucault's.

The cinema ad will be played at a select few local theaters that tend to screen independent, vintage, and foreign films. We suspect those who would most value the selection of books at Mother Foucault's would also appreciate the films shown at these venues.