Runner up in the ‘Innovative Marketing Award’ at the CIM TIG Awards.
Best practice from The Partnership.
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”, a novel written by American writer Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows and set in Guernsey, was published in 2007 in the US by Random House and in 2008 in the UK by Bloomsbury.
Annie Barrows and Bloomsbury made a low-key visit to Guernsey to launch the trade copy of the book in 2008 and, as a courtesy, the marketing team at VisitGuernsey was sent a copy.
At this point there was no indication that this little known book would become a success but VisitGuernsey felt there was a resonance between the book and many of their key themes: nostalgia, quirkiness and heritage.
It was therefore decided to promote Guernsey as a destination to readers of the novel using a very limited budget.
VisitGuernsey contacted the publishers to investigate marketing opportunities and struck a deal based upon a sweepstake competition to be promoted amongst book clubs, which are incredibly popular in the US.
The prize offered a chance for six book club members from the UK and 6 in the US to win a trip to Guernsey, transatlantic flights provided by the publisher, UK to Guernsey flights sponsored by a local airline and accommodation by a local hotel.
The Guernsey logo and web address was subsequently printed into every copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in the UK and in the US where they dedicated a full page.
The Guernsey Logo, partner logos and web addresses featured in the UK publishers promotional cross track posters, A3 posters in libraries and for a limited period on point of sale in selected major book stores.
Thanks to the US publishers the competition, including logo and web address, also featured in online advertising (including the New York Times and The New Yorker, reach of approximately 2.2 million consumers) as well as all major US book group sites, with banners clicking through to the competition page with a reach of an estimated further 2 million.
The logo and the URL for Guernsey and sponsors of the competition featured on the book websites as well as Dial and Random House
E-blasts were sent to the Random House e-newsletter lists (100,000 recipients)
A major competition presence featured on the Random House Readers Circle website and in the Readers Circle newsletter (10,000 recipients)
A second wave of promotion took place after the winning book group took the trip, including photos and trip blogs on the competition site and book sites and promotion to all partner sites that covered the sweepstakes.
Mention of the sweepstakes, including sponsor names, featured in press outreach to the US and UK media.
Budget. Because this activity fell outside the regular marketing plan, and because its success or failure hinged on the popularity of the novel (which was at that time unknown), only very limited funds were available.
The novel has been one of the great publishing successes in recent memory. It was named one of the books of the year by Time, USA Today, the Washington Post, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and the Christian Science Monitor amongst others.
As a result Visitguernsey’s logo and web address has been seen by 1.6 million readers in the US (expected to reach 2 million by Christmas) and 250,000 so far in the UK. The competition was taken up by 56,000 individuals and book clubs and generated massive viral interest across social networking sites.
Guernsey is now experiencing a massive increase in bookings from US group travel and cruises and on the back of this success, VisitGuernsey’s Director of Marketing embarked on a PR tour of US and Canada in October 2009, visiting New York, San Francisco and Toronto and completed a total of 67 interviews with travel journalists across all media.
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