Media: Strategy Analysis - HarperCollins launches book via TV

Brand: Where Rainbows End, HarperCollins
Client: Kate Elliott, campaign manager, HarperCollins
Brief: Reach a strong position in the book charts by encouraging readers
of PS. I Love You to buy Cecilia Ahern's second novel and recruit new
Target audience: Women aged 18 to 40 years old
Budget: £35,000

Media: Lisa Batty and Sian Amato, OMD UK
Creative: Alex Pursey, HarperCollins


OMD's task was to promote the summer launch of Where Rainbows End from Cecilia Ahern. As this was Ahern's second novel, OMD also needed to encourage readers of PS. I Love You, her first, to become loyal readers.

OMD wanted to find a media vehicle that cut through the clutter of book publisher activity on the London Underground and in magazines, and create standout in a highly competitive market. Where Rainbows End was an ideal holiday read and the agency wanted to make it the book to read on the beach that summer.

The objective was to drive frequency across the summer to cover all departure dates and ensure the campaign talked to women when they were thinking about or preparing for their summer holiday.

The campaign needed a vehicle that would give it the reach and personality of say, Heat magazine but without the clutter, and provide an environment that mirrored the qualities of the book while appealing to the target audience.


- TV: Book publishers tend to lean towards Underground or press advertising, creating a wallpaper effect. Budgets typically preclude other channels.

TV emerged as an option, so OMD profiled the target audience (broadly, women aged 18 to 40) for the book. It found Big Brother was the audience's favourite programme. Big Brother was identified as the event of the summer.

With a relatively small budget, OMD identified a potential opportunity with the live streaming of Big Brother on E4 and subsequently on Irish E4. The campaign, using a 20-second spot, ran over a ten-week period. As the campaign ran across the summer months, it drove frequency at relevant times to increase the propensity for holidaymakers to buy this book before going away.


A total of 1.3 million young women saw the campaign across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Where Rainbows End sold more than 200,000 copies during 12 weeks (well above forecast) and climbed to number three in the bestseller paperback charts. It was only kept out of the top two places by two of Dan Brown's novels: The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

By moving to a less traditional medium, HarperCollins was able to achieve a 100 per cent share of voice and a distinction from its competitors.

The campaign also achieved a direct correlation between an increase in sales and the duration that Big Brother was streamed.

In a typical four-week television and magazine campaign, it would be expected that sales would fall, but by advertising for a longer period, this decline in sales was halted until the campaign finished, which highlighted that awareness of the book remained constant.

This made it the most successful women's fiction title launch ever from HarperCollins. Understandably, the client has now reappraised the role of TV in the media mix.

THE VERDICT - Sue Unerman, chief strategy officer, MediaCom

I believe this small-budget campaign won the Channel 4 TV Planning Award this year. Many media people who entered big-budget, high-concept entries will have gnashed their teeth at its success.

Wherever the glittering prizes went, this campaign does deserve attention as it represents one scenario for the future of TV. It is also a signifier of a change in book marketing and the growing up of the publishing business.

Good to see new categories on TV. The days of a cost-of-entry barrier are no more and there are now plenty of examples of this as case studies to coax non-TV advertisers to try the box.

In the old world of TV, you mainly only used TV if you could afford lots of ratings and a big, glossy (and expensive) TV ad. In the new world of TV, we recognise that TV is no longer one medium with one predominant way of being useful, but many different media channels, one of which - live streaming - is used here.

The ability to focus on a core type of consumer on TV is one of the ways the medium has changed, and the fragmentation that is talked about as a headache for some is clearly an advantage here. If you were one of the relatively small group of people who, entranced by Kinga, Eugene, Makosi and people sitting in cardboard boxes, spent the summer glued to the mainly dull live streaming, then this was presumably unmissable. It is, perhaps, arguable this isn't the best possible use of multichannel TV but a literal translation of a one-title magazine strategy. However, its success is clear and convincing.

There is a revolution going on in media, including on TV, which means communications strategies will increasingly be media-led (as this clearly was) and there will not be one way of using TV but many. There will also be more than one model for TV production costs (you can't spend a quarter of a million on a TV ad on this budget). It seems churlish to criticise what was clearly a major innovation in strategy, but it would have been brilliant to find a way of adding an interactive component to the work.

However, it certainly deserves four stars, for the amazing sell of a single-minded and innovative strategy if nothing else.

SCORE: 4 out of 5.