How Emotive brought in Jimmy Rees to help Audible compete for attention

By Ruby Derrick | 10 October 2023

Audible's latest campaign is not only a stand out for the audiobook market but also a lesson in competing against a long list vying for people’s attention.

To win this battle, the agency knew it had to play to the strengths of both the brand and the format, Paul Sharp, creative director at Emotive, told AdNews.

“The titles on Audible are truly world-class, and because audio can be completely hands and eye-free, you can immerse yourself in new worlds while you’re going through the monotony of day-to-day life," he said. 

Ignite Your Imagination by Emotive showcases how the audiobook platform can fit into everyday Australian lives.  

The company partnered with Australian entertainer, comedian and social creator Jimmy Rees to inspire how the destination for audio storytelling can bring together an ever-growing range of audiobooks, podcasts, and original content to help listeners discover stories that will enrich their lives. 

The inspiration behind Ignite Your Imagination stemmed from the fact that audio content can help listeners discover stories that will enrich their lives and minds as well as everyday moments, said Ben Rolleston (pictured right), country manager of Audible Australia. 

Ben Rolleston

“Illustrating how, with Audible and a little bit of imagination, everyday activities like walking, cooking or winding down before sleep can be a little more exciting,” he said. 

Audible has a bit of a track record of connecting with Australian comedic talent in their ascendance, including Rebel Wilson and Celeste Barber, said Sharp.

In recent years, Jimmy has grown his social following and output dramatically with surprisingly broad cross-generational appeal,” he said. 

And perhaps more pertinently, Audible is all about imagination, so we needed a talent who naturally plays in that space — enter the guy who used to go on adventures with a plush owl and who now just chats to different versions of himself.”   

Rolleston said like many Australians, Rees leads a busy life juggling family, travel and work. 

“With his signature characterful humour, he felt like the perfect fit to show how it's possible to ignite your imagination with Audible,” he said. 

Audible is becoming a premium destination for audio storytelling, with more than 750,000 audiobooks ,podcasts and original content on the platform, said Rolleston. 

“Our collection contains a wide range of bestsellers, new releases and plenty of included audiobooks," he said. 

“This sets us apart with all the best in one place. Some of the titles featured in the campaign include Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Call, and Spare by Prince Harry.” 

Paul Sharp

The creative process started with narrowing down and agreeing on the talent, said Sharp (pictured right).

“With the criteria being likeable, funny and imaginative. From there it was a case of playing to that character’s (Jimmy’s) strength which is… playing characters," he said. 

Emotive wrote and workshopped some that could broadly deliver to a few key genres: fantasy, thriller/drama, biography and from there, set Rees free, said Sharp. 

“Within taste/age-appropriateness and broad appeal boundaries, to get carried away by the Audible experience in a few key use-case situations.”  

Rolleston said he and the Audible team used a strong collaborative approach with Rees throughout the entire creative process.  

"Working with one of Australia’s best comedians, it was important that we were able to engage with him early and seek input before finalising concepts and scripts,” said Rolleston. 

“This ensured the tone of the campaign represented both Audible and Jimmy.”   

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