Client: World Book Day
Campaign: World Book Day 2000
PR Team: Colman Getty
Timescale: Sept 1999 - 10 Mar
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
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.