Old World, Meet New

A short interview in which we talk to Amanda Tobier, marketing maven, about the creation of the “13, Rue Therese” website and the use of augmented reality.

What first attracted you to “13, Rue Therese” as both a reader and a Marketing Manager?

I am an unabashed Francophile! It tickled my French fancy, as well as my love of anonymous old letters and photos. And as a marketing person, I could see endless entrances (or shall I say entrées?) into the material: for readers, French fans, archivists, historians, and with the QR codes, techies!

What has your experience been with QR codes in the past, and how did you get the idea to use them in the campaign for this book?

I had no experience with QR codes, besides pointing my iphone at one randomly and finding Lauren Conrad’s website pop up. Not the most auspicious start.

What were some of the challenges specific to this project?

I wouldn’t say it was actually a challenge, but I could’ve spent endless hours looking through the photos, and imagining the life of Louise Brunet. And as I helped to fill in the “Explore” section on the website, I had mountains of links I wanted to add—the fashion of the time, the sounds of the metro, old maps. It could have become another job!

What was it like to work with the actual objects in the box?  Did seeing them firsthand change the way you had thought of them from reading the book?

My experience with actually holding the box and its objects had an immeasurable impact in working on the book. Through the site, I could replicate most senses: the sounds, the sights—but the outside reader will never be able to smell that wonderful mustiness. When the Italian publisher of the book came to our office, I made them stick their noses right inside. They looked surprised, and then delighted.

What do you hope readers will most take away from the experience of visiting www.13ruetherese.com?

To be standing firmly in the present, while simultaneously looking back with nostalgia at the world of “13, Rue Therese”, and forward to the new frontier of QR codes and digital libraries.

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