CAMPAIGNS: Product Launch - New chapter brings Fab Four to book

Client: publisher Cassell and Co and record label Apple Corps

Client: publisher Cassell and Co and record label Apple Corps

PR Team: Freelances Geoff Baker and Christian Down, with assistance from the Apple Corps press office, and Cassell's freelance PRO, Angela Martin

Campaign: The launch of The Beatles Anthology

Timescale: 3 September-5 October

Budget: Undisclosed

For the first time in their much-catalogued history, The Beatles are telling their own story - in the form of a 350,000-word autobiography, The Beatles Anthology.

Written in the first person, John (using archived material), Paul, George and Ringo tell of their lives as members of one the most revered bands ever, with asides from George Martin, the late Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, and head of record label Apple Corps, Neil Aspinall.

Although there are some 400 unofficial books on the Beatles, this is the first time those who actually lived the story have collectively gone into print.

The 370-page book, illustrated with more than 1,200 photographs, was published in the UK, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Norway and Latin America on 5 October.


To maximise sales of the book by cranking up worldwide publicity that would persuade booksellers to make substantial orders. To retain control of the material usage and rights.

Strategy and Plan

Freelance PRO Geoff Baker was given carte blanche to adopt a dynamic approach to the launch of the book.

Without the availability of band members Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, a creative approach was needed.

He threw out the idea of following traditional serialisation in each country, despite a record offer of a pounds 1.05 million deal from one British newspaper for the exclusive.

Rather than be beholden to one paper, and only reaching the readers of that paper, Baker wanted to reach all demographics, with 'serialisations' in various publications, from the Sun to the Independent, for free.

But he knew that each publication would want its own exclusive.

In an effort to avert antagonism, Baker utilised the fact that in editing the book, Derek Taylor had sectionalised The Beatles' story. For example, the making of the Abbey Road album, the break-up of the band, the drugs, and the Hamburg days, for instance, each had their own chapter. The number of separate sections ran to 50.

Baker decided that each interested newspaper and magazine should be offered a section from the book - and then that section would be exclusive only to the relevant publication 'so that no matter which newspaper you read, you'd read about it', says Baker.

Furthermore, the sections would be provided for free. Baker then argued that this strategy should be used as a template for each country publishing the book.

Measurement and Evaluation

From 3 September, 'exclusive' sections of the book ran in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine, the Sun, the Mail On Sunday, Liverpool Echo, Independent, Times Magazine, Express, Mail, Scottish Sunday Mail, the Star, the Scotsman, Record Collector, Q, Mojo, GQ, Red, Guitarist and High Life.

Exclusives also ran in 21 Australian publications, eight publications in Canada, two in Hong Kong, eight in Finland, 18 in France, 27 in Germany, eight in Holland, three in Italy, 29 in Japan, 11 in New Zealand, seven in Norway, 14 in Spain, 32 magazines in the US and 361 associated television bulletins in the US.


By publication day on 5 October, booksellers had ordered in excess of 1.5 million copies of the book.

Within one week of publication, The Beatles Anthology went straight to the top of the Sunday Times and the New York Times bestseller lists.

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