Viking prepares for 'huge' John le Carré campaign

Viking prepares for 'huge' John le Carré campaign

Viking is preparing for a "huge" public campaign around the publication of John le Carré's new book, A Legacy of Spies, dubbed "the literary event of the autumn". 

The book's publication on Thursday (7th September), which kicks off with a "extremely rare" public appearance from the author himself at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, will trigger the launch of a campaign including advertising on National Rail and the London Underground.

As part of the wide-reaching multimedia campaign, le Carré was the cover interview of Sunday Times Culture on Sunday (3rd September), and has done a flagship interview for BBC Radio 4, due to be aired this Thursday and run across the BBC’s new channels and website. This publicity will be followed by a marketing campaign with advertising being rolled out across National Rail and the London Underground, as well as radio advertising across Classic FM, supported by podcast and digital advertising.

A Legacy of Spies has been in the Amazon Top 50 for the past two weeks, peaking at Number Three over the weekend, which pre-sales Viking attributes to the culmination of six months' consumer-facing activity. The accompanying social media advertising campaign, which has been on-going since March, has reached over 2 million people. 

Activity first started on 7th March with the announcement of the novel, when Waterstones announced the availability of 1,000 signed first editions that sold out in three hours. A further 1,000 signed copies were made available in July via Waterstones and sold out in under an hour. Penguin Classics and Waterstones then partnered for a summer of activity dubbed "The Summer of Smiley" where eight London Waterstones stores promoted each of le Carré’s eight Smiley novels. To mark the occasion, Penguin Classics produced The George Smiley Reader, a free sampler containing extracts selected by le Carré himself, which was distributed to bookshops across the country, and commissioned "Smiley’s Map" of London marking key locations in le Carré’s novels which was featured by Waterstones in multiple window displays, and throughout their stores.

The Royal Festival Hall's launch event for the book, entitled "An Evening with George Smiley", will this week feature le Carré in conversation with Jon Snow to discuss his work and career. It will be broadcast live into 276 cinemas across the country, as well as cinemas across Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark, and will be broadcast in cinemas across Australia and the USA at a later date.

A Legacy of Spies is the first novel in over 25 years to feature le Carré's character George Smiley of the British Secret Service. It publishes on Thursday (7th September), when the audiobook read by Tom Hollander will also be released.