CAMPAIGNS: Books go back on the agenda - Public Awareness

World Book Day was commemorated across the UK and Ireland on 23 April - Shakespeare’s birthday. It was jointly organised by the publishing and bookselling industries, and received support from the BBC, Government and other agencies. Every child in full-time education between the ages of four and 18 was given a pounds 1 book voucher to spend in participating bookshops.

World Book Day was commemorated across the UK and Ireland on 23

April - Shakespeare’s birthday. It was jointly organised by the

publishing and bookselling industries, and received support from the

BBC, Government and other agencies. Every child in full-time education

between the ages of four and 18 was given a pounds 1 book voucher to

spend in participating bookshops.



Objective



To emphasise the importance of reading, for learning and pleasure,

particularly among children. To get children to use their vouchers.



Tactics



With so many different groups - publishers, booksellers, schools and

writers - involved in the promotion and organising their own events, it

was vital that Colman Getty communicated with all parties.



The agency contacted publishers and booksellers involved in the

initiative, explaining the voucher scheme. Publishers were targeted to

get willing authors involved in the campaign, either to visit schools or

bookshops on the day, and Colman Getty produced a list of authors and

contact numbers.



All the participants were supplied with fax-back forms, to keep Colman

Getty informed of the events being planned in schools and bookshops

across the country.



Colman Getty helped in producing a schools’ pack with ideas on how to

celebrate the day. This was sent to all schools. The events were then

compiled into a 50-page summary, divided into counties, and this was

supplied to local newspapers and broadcasting outlets in the regions. On

the actual day a celebratory event was held at London’s Globe theatre,

with children from 16 local schools. The Prime Minister Tony Blair and

his wife Cherie Booth, plus culture minister Chris Smith and education

secretary David Blunkett, attended and chatted to the children.



Results



Despite the appearance of Robin Cook with his new wife as a leading

picture in many of the nationals the day after World Book Day, the

campaign achieved an enormous amount of coverage, generating well over

1,500 cuttings.



As well as all the media coverage the day attracted, the Times linked up

with Waterstone’s and the Independent with Blackwells, to produce

special supplements. The Guardian also produced its own supplement.



The day was also covered in magazines ranging from Cosmopolitan to Good

Housekeeping and the Times Education Supplement.



According to data collected from high street bookstores (excluding WH

Smith and supermarkets) total weekly book sales rose from 1,178,186 in

the week before World Book Day, to 1, 458,251 during that week, and

1,576,544 in the week after the day.



The information on the number of vouchers exchanged is still being

collated and will be available later in the year.



Verdict



Luthfa Begum, marketing assistant for booksellers Books etc. says: ’The

day went very well, and the event won more media attention than ever

before.’ Sales were up for Books etc, as for many other chains but Begum

points out that this is perhaps due to events organised by bookshops

themselves, as well as media coverage.



The BBC’s involvement undoubtedly helped to raise the profile, however

the interest and support from so many different sectors bodes well for

the upcoming National Year of Reading, due to start in September.



Client: World Book Day Steering Committee

PR Team: Colman Getty

Campaign: World Book Day

Timing: November 1997 - April 1998

Budget: Undisclosed



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