Campaign: The new James Bond novel, Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks
Client: Penguin Books
PR teams: Colman Getty
Timescale: June 2007 - June 2008 (Publication date: 28 May 2008)
Budget: Approx £40,000 (event budget approx £50,000)
Colman Getty was already employed by Ian Fleming Publications, the Fleming family company that holds the copyright for the Bond books, to deliver an international PR campaign and a range of events to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth. The publication of Devil May Care fell on the exact date of what would have been Ian Fleming's 100th birthday - 28 May 2008.
- To create a high-profile publicity campaign for Devil May Care
- To make Devil May Care the most talked about book of the year
- To renew interest in the literary origins of James Bond.
STRATEGY AND PLAN
In June 2006 the new Bond book was announced, which led to much speculation in the press. A year later, in June 2007, both author and title were announced.
The plot of Devil May Care was a closely guarded secret, but information was slowly leaked out by the PR team.
In December 2007, the jacket image was released to the press, followed by the announcement of a MySpace competition in January 2007 to write the theme tune for the audio book edition.
A media partnership was set up with The Times for mid-May. In the week before publication of Devil May Care, the paper ran a week-long series of giveaways promoting Ian Fleming's original Bond books.
Time with Faulks was limited, so the team organised one major interview with the Sunday Times, and an exclusive broadcast interview with the BBC. Colman Getty then used members of the Fleming family as spokespeople.
As Bond held a naval position (commander), the team decided a high-profile stunt with the Royal Navy was in order. The day before publication, a press launch was held on the HMS Exeter on the Thames.
The first seven copies of Devil May Care were delivered by the supermodel Tuuli - who is featured on the cover of the book - to Faulks, escorted by Royal Marines and helicopters. The pair were then driven to Waterstone's in Piccadilly in a convoy of vintage Bentleys. The photocall included the major news channels and 15 press photographers.
As Devil May Care was printed by multiple publishers around the world, the PR team arranged an international press conference with Faulks, which was attended by 80 members of the foreign press.
Finally, Colman Getty's events team organised a launch party at Fifty in Mayfair on the eve of publication.
MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION
The BBC interview went out on Radio 4's Today Programme, and the Six O'Clock and Ten O'Clock News. The Times Magazine ran the first extract of Devil May Care on the Saturday prior to publication, with a second and final extract in T2 the following Monday.
Headlines included 'The biggest literary thrill of 2008' (The Observer) and 'One book will dominate 2008' (Daily Mirror). The launch received blanket coverage, with pieces in all but one of the national newspapers and most terrestrial TV channels (including BBC1, ITV, C5 and Sky News).
Devil May Care went straight to No.1 in the book charts - not only in the hardback fiction chart, but in sales of all books that week - and was No.1 on Amazon's bestseller table in the first week of publication. It became Penguin's fastest selling fiction title ever, selling 44,000 copies in the first four days of sale.
SECOND OPINION - TONY MULLIKEN, Chairman and 'Goldfinger', Midas Public Relations
They say that one's word is one's bond but maybe it now should be that Bond is the word. In 2007 the world was talking about the new James Bond: not about whether it should be Craig or Brosnan, but whether a new writer would walk in the footsteps of the master, Ian Fleming, in the centenary year of his birth.
When Sebastian Faulks was revealed as the author to pen a new Bond adventure, the choice surprised many and disappointed a few.
Colman Getty's orchestration of the build-up was ingeniously planned for maximum publicity effect. The high-profile stunts worked magnificently. You would have needed to be held prisoner by Russian baddies SMERSH not to have been aware of all that coverage.
Colman Getty fuelled the literary debate, which centred on whether Faulks was the right man for the job. Good foreign press coverage helped the international aspect and a glittering party in Mayfair was the icing on the PR cake.
The MySpace theme tune competition created strong, early word of mouth interest and extended the brand reach, appropriate to the new Bond. The partnership with The Times and the giveaways of the original Bond books will help Penguin's back list and the coffers of the Fleming estate.
The campaign was shaken, stirred, exceedingly well planned and executed. Colman Getty deserves a case of Bond's favourite champagne - Dom Perignon '55.