THE MARKETING 100: 'THE GREEN MILE': MARYANN PALUMBO

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Although Maryann Palumbo, senior VP-marketing for Penguin USA, has worked on every Stephen King book since "Carrie," the campaign she put together for "The Green Mile" was unlike any she had ever assembled before.

When the fast-paced campaign was over, 23 million copies had been sold at $2.99 each-including 250,000 $18 boxed sets of the six-part thriller.

"We called ['The Green Mile'] a serial thriller, but it became a serial campaign. It was a phenomenal success," says Ms. Palumbo. "He was not finished writing the book when we were publishing it. Usually, you don't publish the book without knowing the ending."

In addition, normal book campaigns have a window of about 10 days-the typical length of time the book might occupy space on a book rack in supermarkets and chain stores. "The Green Mile" had a six-month window.

Ms. Palumbo says there were several components to the campaign's success: distribution, a new point-of-purchase display each month and advertising on TV and a Web site.

Supermarkets, chain stores and bookstores had to be willing to commit to putting the book on sale on the same day and allow space for the promotional display.

"We shipped a new display each month. With each display there would be a spot for the previous months-by the sixth month all six books could be on display," says Ms. Palumbo.

A TV spot featuring Mr. King and a mouse, a key element in he book, was also an important part of the $2 million campaign, says Ms. Palumbo. Ziccardi & Partners, New York, created the spot.

Die-hard fans also were able to visit a special Web site that changed every month when the new installment came out. Ms. Palumbo says there were between 6 million and 7 million hits on the Web site (www.greenmile.com).

"You always worry a little bit when there's something brand new you haven't done before. The calming affect is that it is Stephen King. Now, everyone says, 'It was a sure thing.' But, that's easy to say after you've had a success," says Ms. Palumbo.

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