Gone Girl, Geek Girl win in Jan-April 2013 BMS Campaign Awards

POSTED ON: 18/07/13 TAGS: Adult fiction Awards Children's fiction Guerrilla marketing Non-fiction

by Jon Slack

In the esteemed surroundings of Faber’s Bloomsbury offices, the winners of the Best Marketing Campaign Awards for January-April 2013 were announced.  The winners in the three categories – Adults, Children’s and Shoestring – were:

Adult winner:

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Mark Rusher and Jo Dawson, Orion

This title came over from the US with a head of steam but, as many campaigns before it have proven, this doesn’t always translate into success. Gone Girl was an exception. It was Mumsnet’s Book of the Month and was instantly identifiable from it’s striking use of colours on a widespread poster campaign. The approach to the posters was unique in another way. Two quotes from the male and female protagonist’s were contrasted side-by-side to show the two points of view – reinforcing the tagline ‘there are two sides to every story’ – and offering appeal to both men and women. Became one of the genuinely ‘Book Everyone is Talking About’ titles of 2012.

Children’s winner

Geek Girl, by Holly Smale
Nicola Way, Hannah Bourne, Abby Tayleure (HarperCollins’ Children’s)

From the aspirational strapline – “Celebrate Your Inner Geek!”, to the engaging Geek Girl cover shot competition (get your pic snapped on the cover) at the NEC Birmingham Clothes Show, this was a campaign with a lot of energy and plenty of visibility. It was promoted in Shout Magazine and on radio, and more than 1,500 photos were taken in their special photo booth (with glasses provided, of course). It was also the Number 1 debut in children’s books to date – a well deserved achievement for this first-time writer.

Shoestring campaign winner:

Knackered Mother’s Wine Club
Alice Shortland, Bloomsbury

This book benefited from the genuine engagement of Waterstones booksellers, resulting in their voting it the Waterstones Book of the Year 2012; strong targeting of a foodie audience which managed to turn restaurant customers into book buyers; great competitions for the potential audience, and amazing sales and ROI.


Two campaigns were also highly commended:


Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  • Marketers: Gemma Green, supported by Nicola Chapman (Penguin)
    • Original and thoughtful use of copy in campaign materials, particularly dealing with the difficult subject of a 16-year old cancer patient. The campaign demonstrated a productive level of collaboration between the Marketing and PR team, with the tricky twin-audience targeting of  YA/adult cross-over market handled particularly well.
    • The creative was really effective and consistently imaginative – for instance drawing on hospital terminology in some of the banner adverts. The unique ‘Pass-it-on’ word of mouth campaign really worked and all told, the book is on target for half a million sales in 2013!


The Chocolate Box Girls (series) by Cathy Cassidy                                             

  • Marketers: Julia Teece (Puffin)
    • Extensive consumer research was carried out among target audience in advance, to see what they wanted to see from author. As a result, launched the Cathy Cassidy TV channel (CCTV) which quickly saw 119k views of her video blogs, with a new one released each week. Judges were also impressed that a strong ROI was delivered within a very tight budget, with sales up 18% year on year


The winners were chosen from a list of more than 30 submissions from members of the Book Marketing Society. They were judged by BMS officials (Jo Henry and Alastair Giles, Executive Directors, and Jon Slack, Development Manager) together with Dominic Gettins of European ad agency Havas and Hugh Salmon of the marketing and communications agency The Salmon Agency and Brand Republic blogger.



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