Booksellers kick-start Christmas with 'quirky' campaigns

Booksellers kick-start Christmas with 'quirky' campaigns

Booksellers are set to roll out "quirky" and "feel-good" promotional campaigns as the Christmas shopping season begins to bite. W H Smith launched its TV Christmas advertising campaign this week with a bang by discounting the price of a Kobo Mini e-reader from £59.99 to £49.99, with the advert featuring a snowy, wintery blue background in keeping with the chain's brand colour scheme.

Another of its TV ads shows a picture of Cheryl Cole's memoir and a red bauble reading "Up to 75% off"—with the chain offering up to three-quarters off the r.r.p. of many titles over the festive period.

Foyles launches a "tongue-in-cheek" advertising campaign today (16th) created by Foyles designer Jeff Clark, head of marketing Miriam Robinson and senior buyer Heather Baker.

The adverts, which feature a flowchart showing the thought path of a customer around Christmas time and directing them to Foyles, will soon start appearing in shop windows, online sites and social media sites before featuring in tube stations from 10th–24th December.

The "Foyles Bookshop Patented, FoolProof Gift Acquisition System" guides readers through a series of mildly irreverent yes/no decisions aiming to remind Christmas shoppers that "books are wonderful presents and that Foyles bookshops are the best place to go for advice on buying them."

Robinson said: "This Christmas, we wanted to deliver the message that the beauty of bookshops is that no matter who you're shopping for, we can find something to match their interests.  We also wanted to have a little fun—Christmas shopping can be perceived as stressful but in a good bookshop it should be the opposite."

Blackwell's Christmas campaign will focus on "the strength of our shops" and bookshops will create local, bespoke campaigns to fit their markets, a spokeswoman said. The academic chain store's promotions include Beautiful Books Chosen by Our Booksellers, three-for-two on all 2012 paperbacks, and Folklore and Fairytales—which will encompass both adults and children's stories under the fairytale genre.

The company will also be pushing Nook e-readers and tablets as Christmas gifts to its customers. "Use of QR codes on physical books in shops will enable customers to download books straight to their device in-store, on free wi-fi," a spokeswoman said. "The three-for-two continues to be a strong offer for our customers."

Independent booksellers are also readying their Christmas windows with the help of the Bookseller Association's IndieBound p.o.s. materials. This year signage includes a poster mimicking a wrapped present which says: "Books have Christmas all wrapped up!" Another green-backed sign with a picture of mistletoe says: "It's Books Because You Love them" and another reads: "So many Amazing Books You Won't Believe Your . . ." then contains pictures of mince pies—Cockney rhyming slang for eyes.