Thriller Author Patterson Gets Back Into Ads

Novelist takes a more active role in marketing his upcoming book campaign

James Patterson knows too much about advertising to leave it to publishers.

So, when the former JWT creative director markets his books—such as the upcoming campaign for his children’s novels—he transforms from best-selling author to agency client. Most authors on his level spend their own money on ads, but he takes it further. Working with New York shop The Concept Farm, Patterson approves creative concepts and oversees casting. And, for this campaign, he even selected the book passages featured in the ads.

“I’m a client now,” Patterson says with a hint of relief. “You get to torture the agency! It’s so cool, man. It used to be hard; now it’s easy.”

The TV ads for the children’s book push, which debuts next month and will be backed by up to $6 million, are designed to both sell books and get more kids to read.

At the end of one ad that targets parents, Patterson himself appears, an adult book in his right hand and a kid’s book in his left. “James Patterson with a radical idea: Give your kids a book for Christmas,” he says. “Get Kill Alex Cross for yourself, Witch & Wizard: The Fire for the kids.”

You can take the author out of the agency, but apparently the agency never quite goes away.