Hachette Cancels ‘Tatvertising’ Stunt After Complaints From The Public

Hachette Cancels ‘Tatvertising’ Stunt After Complaints From The Public

A book promotion that saw one lucky “winner” score a full back tattoo has been canned after it was deemed offensive by members of the public.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Book publishers Hachette Australia has ended the promo announced last week to promote the fourth instalment of Stieg Larsson’s popular Millenium series, The Girl In The Spider’s Web. As part of the campaign for the launch of the book, the tattoo stunt, labelled ‘tatvertising’, had been on the hunt for a volunteer who embodies a similar spirit as the main character in the series, Lisbeth Salander.

However, while the campaign generated much attention, not all of it was positive. Justin Ractliffe, managing director for marketing, publicity and Australian publishing at Hachette Australia, told B&T this morning the stunt had been cancelled.

“Our tattoo campaign for The Girl in the Spider’s Web has received a great deal of attention as we intended it to,” said Ractliffe. “The campaign was conceived with good intentions. Much of the coverage has been positive and has reported the whole campaign in the spirit in which it was created, but some people have been offended. As this was never our intention, we have listened and we have decided we will not continue with the tattoo element of the campaign.”

The Verge denounced the campaign as “predatory” and “desperate”. “We’d probably like to think that this kind of next-level tackiness is soundly in the past, along with the other things we shucked off at the turn of the decade — namely Spencer Pratt and Crocs,” The Verge’s Kaitlyn Tiffany wrote last week.

“But necessity is the mother of ludicrousness, and for past-their-prime industries like book publishing, where standard advertising, word of mouth, and even the media are generally disinterested, creative marketing is the one and only imperative.” As the stunt has now been canned, Ractliffe declined to say how many people had entered, however, said it had had a lot of interest.

When the competition was first announced, Zoe Young from Joy Agency, the agency behind the PR bits and bobs for the book, told B&T: “The idea for the campaign launching The Girl in the Spider’s Web came from the insight that Lisbeth Salander has reached a cult status amongst people who have read the books. “We were presented with a great creative opportunity to give die hard fans a chance to mark her return by doing something that really lives up to her fiercely defiant character.”

If going ahead, the candidate for the tattoo would sit through two permanent tattoo sessions at Bondi tattoo parlour, Kaleidoscope, with an end result being a massive dragon on the back used in ad campaigns. While big, the tattoo element was just one part of the campaign, with Ractliffe adding there will be a number of other activations taking place, such as a Lisbeth Salandar ‘hacking’ other advertising with the digital campaign, emojis and limited editions of the book’s hardcover where entrants can feature their own dragon on the cover.

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