Marketing Misfire: Promo Recipe Recalled Over Poison Ingredient

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary


By Siobhan O’Leary

German publisher Hoffmann und Campe has issued a recall for a detachable promotional recipe card in its new fall catalogue out of concern that it might leave a bad taste in readers’ mouths — or worse.

The recipe card, which was meant to tie in with Tanja Griesel’s new crime novel Rothard, features a fake recipe for wild rabbit with capers calling for three leaves of the herb foxglove. Only problem? The plant is toxic and can even be deadly.

It’s certainly an original marketing concept for a thriller, but the publisher doesn’t want to take any chances and has asked all booksellers and anyone who received the catalogue to return the cards. According to the Boersenblatt, the context of the recipe is clear from the description of the book in the catalogue, but the fear is that, since the card is detachable, the recipe could potentially be taken seriously by some unsuspecting reader.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.