Moleskine is a name synonymous with creativity. Their product family of notebooks, smart notebooks, and other writing accessories form an ecosystem of tools that support and encourage creative practices. In early 2021, Moleskine was looking for a unique way to inspire creative expression and grow their brand affinity.
The Moleskine and Vocal partnership sought to achieve several goals, including creative inspiration and increased brand awareness for Moleskine. In partnering with an iconic brand beloved by creatives, a key goal for Vocal was utilizing the Moleskine partnership to generate excitement around the first anniversary of Vocal Challenges, which are an essential part of Vocal's mission to reward and empower creators.
Vocal for Brands’ Solution
To meet the goals of both Moleskine and Vocal, Vocal launched The Little Black Book Challenge; a six week long challenge exclusive to Vocal+ subscribers. The creators' prompt was to write a fiction story about someone who unexpectedly comes into $20,000, the same amount as the 1st place prize and Vocal's highest cash prize to date. All other story details were left to the creator — the only additional requirement was that submissions had to mention a small black notebook. After entering the challenge, creators were encouraged to promote their stories off-platform. This cross-promotion allowed Vocal creators to gain more reads on their stories, and drove increased brand awareness and affinity amongst Moleskine's target audience.
The Challenge was judged by Daniela Riccardi, CEO of Moleskine, and Erica Wagner, writer, editor, lecturer and former Man Booker Prize judge. The prizes included $20,000, $5,000, and $1,000 for the first, second, and third place winners respectively. Additionally, ten runner-ups received a free year’s subscription to Vocal+ (each worth $120).
The Little Black Book Challenge's six-week duration saw over 12,387 submissions, stories that garnered a total of 206,406 total reads. The challenge drove 73 million impressions reaching 15 million people — accomplishing the goal of greater brand awareness and affinity for Moleskine. Submissions ran the genre gamut; we saw science fiction stories such as Wet Wood Burns Black, thrillers and horror stories like Madame Mirage's Game of Terror or Treasure, and a multitude of other genres. The first place prize of $20,000 went to creator Jess Sambuco, with "The Delicate Art of Counting to Three". Moleskine CEO and Challenge judge Daniela Riccardi was particularly touched by this original take on the Little Black Book prompt. The second place prize of $5,000 went to “Dog Hill Wood,” written by creator Joshua Studebaker, while third place prize of $1,000 went to creator Laura Jeffrey and her story, "For The Things You Want to Remember.”
After a universally challenging year, The Little Black Book Challenge incentivized and inspired a diverse array of Vocal creators to flex their fiction-writing muscles for the chance at serious cash prizes. Moleskine synonymously gained authentic engagement with thousands of members of their target audience, who learned more about the brand's ongoing commitment to supporting and rewarding creators. Moleskine CEO Daniela Riccardi said of the Moleskine x Vocal partnership, "as a provider of physical spaces where creativity, ingenuity, and self-expression nestle, Moleskine is excited to join Vocal on their like-minded mission to be a platform for talent and connect a worldwide community of passionate creators. Moleskine believes in empowering creativity and knowledge around the world, and sees this partnership as being the first in a series of collaborations that will spark the curiosity and genius of creators at Vocal."