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 ZeusThe Colour of Time
Simon & SchusterAnatomy of a Scandal
CornerstoneThe President is Missing
Penguin Random HouseJack Reacher
Penguin Random HouseFeminists Don't Wear Pink