Borders Group, Inc.

Author:Kevin Teague

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100 Phoenix Drive

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108


Telephone: (734) 477-1100

Fax: (734) 477-1965

Web site:


Borders Group, Inc., the second-largest American book retailer after Barnes & Noble, Inc., adjusted to a trend of dwindling mall traffic by erecting more and more superstores, which tallied 435 by 2003. Hoping to dissuade consumers from shopping for books, CDs, and videos over the Internet, Borders strove to provide at each of its stores a customer-friendly setting equipped with cafés, furnished with comfortable seating, and set up so that customers could preview books and music before making a purchase. In April 2003 Borders ended its relationship with the Campbell-Ewald Company, the agency that had created Borders' "Find Out" campaign. Shifting away from price-oriented advertising and focusing instead on the meaningfulness of gift-giving, Borders released its "This Season, It's the Original Thought That Counts" campaign for the 2003 holiday season.

Borders awarded Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Venice, California, office its first account, estimated at $15 million, in September 2003. On November 30 Crispin Porter + Bogusky launched "This Season, It's the Original Thought That Counts" across print and outdoor advertising, with all advertising displaying the campaign's title as the tagline. The print ads, which appeared as inserts in newspapers nationwide during the weeks before Christmas, featured copy on one side that described the joys of receiving books as gifts. The insert's other side looked and felt like holiday wrapping paper. In addition to the book-themed newspaper inserts, DVD-themed wrapping paper was placed in Rolling Stone Magazine to suggest that movies made thoughtful gifts. With the same sentiment in mind, images of CD cases appeared in the New Yorker. All inserts could be removed and used to gift wrap a regular-size book, CD, or DVD.

The campaign garnered a plethora of ad-industry awards, including a Silver Pencil and a Best in Show recognition at 2004's ATHENA Awards competition, sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America. Borders saw a 3.78 percent sales growth in 2003, with 35 percent of its sales occurring during the quarter in which the campaign ran.


Prior to Crispin Porter + Bogusky's involvement, Borders had run a long campaign titled "Find Out," launched by Campbell-Ewald in the mid-1990s and lasting until April 2003. The campaign, which borrowed from earlier work done by ad agency Perich + Partners, focused on the experience of browsing in a bookstore. During the

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duration of "Find Out," Borders held promotional events such as book readings, author signings, lectures, and local-musician showcases. By April 2003 the campaign only appeared across print.

The company also cross-promoted with Children's Books & Toys, Inc., the parent company of FAO Schwarz. Borders recommended and delivered its books, music, and movies to Children's Books & Toys stores. In return the toy stores provided products for Borders and Waldenbooks, a mall-based bookstore chain owned by the Borders Group. But Borders, along with other book-selling superstores, tended to lack strong advertising outside the stores themselves. Mike Spinozzi, chief marketing officer for Borders, explained in Adweek that the company's marketing had in the past depended largely on "competitive square footage." He later referred to the...

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