CAMPAIGNS: Charity PR - Book Day is a best seller with the kids

Client: World Book Day

Client: World Book Day

Campaign: World Book Day 2000

PR Team: Colman Getty

Timescale: Sept 1999 - 10 Mar

Budget: Undisclosed

World Book Day is a UK charity that works on behalf of the Booksellers

Association and the Publishers Association. Other similar events are

held independently in nearly 30 countries around the world. This is the

third year that the UK has celebrated World Book Day.

The day is based on a tradition that dates back to 1926 when the Catalan

people in Spain celebrated their patron saint St. George, by giving

books and roses to friends and lovers. Usually held on Shakespeare’s

supposed birthday and St. George’s day, 23 April, this year the event

was brought forward to Friday 10 March, to avoid clashing with Easter

Sunday and school holidays.

The charity’s aim was to celebrate the joys of reading and promote the

interests of its members.


To raise national awareness of World Book Day 2000 and encourage

children and adults to get involved with the activities taking place in

their local bookshops, libraries and schools.

Strategy and Plan

To create a national media hook for the event, World Book Day and its

agency Colman Getty came up with the idea of a poll to find the UK’s

favourite author. Between 10 January and 4 February, 4,000 bookshops and

libraries around the country collected polling cards and the public

registered their vote on the charity’s web site.

A major part of the campaign involved drumming up support regionally

from youngsters. So World Book Day put together ’The Children’s Book of

Books 2000’, featuring writers such as Roald Dahl and Just William

author Richmal Crompton.

In addition, the PR team sent out a schools’ press pack, ensured over 14

million school children received a pounds 1 voucher sponsored by Book

Tokens and helped co-ordinate the publicity for local events.

For example, Hammicks Bookshops, which has 24 high street stores in the

south-east and north-west, organised its own celebratory events,

including competitions, designing book covers, author signings, and

sponsored reads.

On 10 March, the results of the Favourite Author Poll were announced and

Colman Getty organised a show at the New London Theatre in Drury Lane

with 1,000 children from schools in Westminster and Islington. This

event was hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Diane Louise Jordan and

featured performances and question and answer sessions with the likes of

Roger McGough, Michael Rosen and children’s laureate Quentin Blake.

Measurement and Evaluation

Formal evaluation will be completed over the next month, when all the

national and regional media coverage has been analysed and feedback from

bookshops, schools and libraries has been pulled together. However, the

day received extensive media interest from almost all the national

newspapers, which enjoyed featuring Roald Dahl as the UK’s favourite


Coverage of community activities ranged from picture stories in local

newspapers to regional TV and radio features on stations across the



Over 40,000 people took part in the nation’s Favourite Author Poll and

the PR team made good use of the findings to give the media a big story

to hang their coverage around.

In addition, by keeping the event firmly focused on making reading fun,

the campaign neatly sidestepped more controversial issues, such as

national literacy levels.

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