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The ultimate product placement shot

A new kids’ book to hit the shelves this holiday season marks a troubling trend in literary co-productions. Published by HarperCollins with what appears to be significant input from the fine folks at Saks Fifth Avenue, Cashmere If You Can is a book about a family of cashmere goats that live on the roof of the midtown Manhattan Saks. Slated to be sold in conventional bookstores as well as at Saks, the book comes just in time for Wild About Cashmere, the department store’s absurd cashmere promotion, which will see its locations filled with everything from tents to hammocks and skipping ropes made of the extremely expensive wool.

Although the contribution of books to corporate branding strategies is nothing new — take for example, The Cheerios Counting BookCashmere If You Can is noteworthy for the lack of clear disclosure of its sponsor’s involvement. However, the book is neither the first nor last of its kind. In 2001, bestselling British author Fay Weldon published The Bulgari Connection while under contract by the posh Italian jeweller, and, sponsored by Ford, two future novels by the English writer of romantic comedies Carole Matthews are set to feature Ford Fiestas.

According to Lorne Manly of The New York Times, Saks is reported to have “already signed with [HarperCollins] to produce another children’s book for next year’s holiday season…. HarperCollins is [also] in negotiations with sports and entertainment entities and packaged goods companies.”

Related links:
Click here for Lorne Manly’s piece in The New York Times