Scarlett Curtis: It’s Not OK To Feel Blue (And Other Lies…)

Our Client

Midas was appointed by Penguin Random House Children’s to launch the second anthology curated by writer, blogger and activist Scarlett Curtis. It’s Not OK To Feel Blue (And Other Lies…) featured writing on mental health from over 60 inspirational people, with 10% of RRP per copy going to the crisis text line charity SHOUT.


What they wanted us to do

Midas was briefed to execute a wide-reaching, attention-grabbing and intelligent national publicity campaign, that lived up to the huge success of Scarlett’s first anthology: Feminist Don’t Wear Pink. Our objective was to build a tangible buzz ahead of release, galvanising support from the brilliant range of contributors to pique interest and drive pre-orders. It was key to ensure the gravity of message – ending stigma around mental health – was communicated sensitively and that Scarlett’s own experiences remained at the heart of this authentic campaign. In business terms, our goal was to deliver a bestseller that stood up to fierce competition on the biggest day in the publishing calendar.


What we achieved for the client

BLUE hit the No. 4 slot in The Sunday Times bestseller chart at the busiest time of the year, and the all the buzz for the book persuaded WHSmith to choose a children’s book as non-fiction Book of the Year for the first time. We delivered targeted, well-messaged coverage in a broad variety of media outlets, with a reach of over 40 million.


We secured 14 pieces of national broadcast ranging from BBC Two Front Row Late to Radio 1 Life Hacks, Radio 2 Steve Wright to Radio 4 Woman’s Hour to Radio 6 Music Lauren Laverne, over 20 pieces of national print coverage including Daily Mail, Red, BALANCE and Metro alongside a huge digital push, led by a BBC Arts & Ents online interview and video that sat on the home page of the BBC News website.


How we did it

We worked seamlessly with the PRH inhouse team alongside all stakeholders, whilst building a trusted relationship with Scarlett. This level of communication helped ensure all elements were coordinated and had aligned messaging. We held an early internal launch with contributors to ensure that they felt supported in their sharing of personal stories, encouraged to use their individual platforms, and to tell us what media opportunities they would consider.


For our media approach, we knew it would be competitive for the big sofa moments and big print pieces because of the time of year, so we put these campaign tent pegs into place earlier than usual to make sure we had space. We built two key spikes of activity: first run of print coverage for publication date (The Sunday Times STYLE extract, Daily Telegraph interview with cover flash, Grazia written piece) plus some sales boosting radio, and then followed a week later to position Scarlett as a leading voice for World Mental Health Day, led by a BBC Breakfast sofa interview.


BLUE appealed to all ages, so we pulled out different angles/contributors to secure coverage across a breadth of media from online, social influencers, podcasts such as Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail, right through to the older market with Good Housekeeping. We also wanted a great tail for this book and arranged a Stylist partnership that delivered launch coverage in the mag / online, then continued with a video series featuring contributors over the following weeks.

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