Mills & Boon, the romantic fiction brand, is considering embarking on a nationwide door-drop sampling campaign will give up to 1 million households a free paperback book.
Publishers Harlequin Mills & Boon relaunched the Mills & Boon brand last month with a modernised look, in an attempt to attract a new generation of readers (MW July 13).
The company felt the brand has lost its relevance to the women of today. Potential readers, put off by the wistful, old-fashioned cover images, were unaware editorial had moved on and so were not buying the books.
In the week before Valentine’s Day this year, the company tested a sampling campaign in 20,000 homes in Birmingham.
The activity resulted in 15,000 books being given away – 3,500 through the door drop and the rest through retail vouchers being redeemed. Free books were also given away when respondents joined the Mills & Boon book club.
Bags which allowed recipients to choose which sort of Mills & Boon novel they wanted were delivered by distribution company Deya. The books were delivered the next day.
A Harlequin Mills & Boon spokeswoman says: “If we roll the sampling scheme out, we will do it next year and will be looking at between half a million and a million door drops.”
She says the publisher is carrying out new sampling activity for Mills & Boon’s sister brand Silhouette.
It is distributing a free mini-sized book on six UK beaches as part of a promotion which includes BT’s AdCall, giving consumers a free phone call in return for listening to a 15-second ad.