Love’s on the air as Harlequin tries TV

There will be a little extra romance in the air this spring as publisher Harlequin Enterprises tests a new tv spot in the u.s. to support its Silhouette line of romance novels.Torstar-owned Harlequin, the first publisher to use tv advertising in...

There will be a little extra romance in the air this spring as publisher Harlequin Enterprises tests a new tv spot in the u.s. to support its Silhouette line of romance novels.

Torstar-owned Harlequin, the first publisher to use tv advertising in North America, will air a 30-sec. spot in as yet unnamed u.s. cities beginning in May.

‘We want to test the impact of tv on retail sales,’ Loriana Sacilotto, director of retail marketing at Harlequin, says.

TV advertising is virtually unheard of in the book advertising industry.

But the brand-oriented nature of Harlequin books (the fact that there are several titles published each month within a framework, or series) and the broad scale of its publishing operation allow the company to operate outside the paradigm of marketing in the publishing industry.

Harlequin markets two brands, Harlequin and Silhouette, each of which contains several series, offering different takes on the romance plot, as well as the Mira imprint, which publishes stand-alone romance titles by name authors.

‘When you have a brand to promote, it becomes much more of a consumer packaged goods approach,’ Sacilotto says. ‘The investment is across the brand, not for an individual title.’

Harlequin’s May tv spots are an adaptation of a tv spot, produced by Grey Direct, New York, that ran in several u.s. markets in January, 1994.

In February, Harlequin ran retail ads on cblt in Toronto

There are no immediate plans to roll out the campaign across Canada or the u.s.