Marketing Strategy of the Year

Winner: Marketing Strategy of the Year




HarperCollins scooped this category last year for its work on Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which went on to become the bestselling book of 2018. Now its HQ team takes the award for Henry Firth and Ian Theasby’s BOSH!—a very different kind of publishing but an equally dynamic and effective marketing strategy.

HQ tapped brilliantly into the vegan eating trend, but cleverly avoided the trap of pitching the book in a niche. Instead it went full tilt at the mainstream, ditching the v-word for an "All Plants" strapline.

The campaign first targeted retailers with bespoke initiatives such as recipe cards for Waitrose, competitions and p.o.s. packs for Waterstones and tote bags for indies, before moving on to consumers with well- targeted digital ads. Creative elements included a "scented" bus stop ad releasing fudge cake smells, and a one-day BOSH! Fest at Borough Market that drew 800 visitors. By the end of 2018 the book had sold 142,000 copies, making it the highest selling vegan title of all time. What’s more, HC has laid the ground for a brand that should serve it well for years to come.

“This was very far from an obvious hit: cookery’s a crowded market and the authors weren’t well known,” said the judges. “It was a campaign that caught a wave and rode it brilliantly... to get numbers like these and sustain interest for so long is amazing.”

Highly commended in this category is THE MAINSTREET TRADING COMPANY. The indie bookshop in the Scottish Borders marked its 10th anniversary in 2018, and used festival-style events, book promos and new merchandise and logos to give a fresh boost to sales. “The marketing is completely beyond what you would expect of an independent bookshop... it’s wonderful to see them celebrating in style,” said the judges.


  • Head of Zeus
    The Colour of Time
    Used social media, retail activity and endorsements to kickstart The Colour of Time by Marina Amaral and Dan Jones
  • Simon & Schuster
    Anatomy of a Scandal
    Shortlisted for its campaign for Anatomy of a Scandal, taking Sarah Vaughan from women’s fiction into psychological thrillers
  • Cornerstone
    The President is Missing
    Launched The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson with a bang at the London Book Fair, then took it to consumers
  • HarperCollins
    First Man
    Shortlisted alongside BOSH! for a campaign for Ant Middleton’s First Man In that hit both military memoir and self-help markets
  • Pan Macmillan
    Made a virtue of the long wait for Tombland by C J Sansom and turned publication into a major event in the fantasy field
  • Penguin Random House
    Jack Reacher
    Took Lee Child’s mega-brand Jack Reacher to new heights with a major spend across social channels and a Mirror tie-up
  • Penguin Random House
    Feminists Don't Wear Pink
    Made a splash for Feminists Don't Wear Pink with bold branding, Instagram work and giveaways