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Movie studios have supplied press-related materials to the theatres and movie distributors since the early 1900s. These materials have been referred to a number of ways through the years. Terms such as campaign book, merchandising manual, showmans manual, campaign manual, press kit, press book, etc. have been used interchangeably. However, there are some specific differences which are generally determined by the extent of the information and/or advertising materials provided. One of the most comprehensive of these was the Campaign Kit and the Campaign Book.

The campaign kit was extremely comprehensive and elaborate. Unlike the press kits that are utilized today, a typical campaign kit included a hardbound, full color campaign book (featuring the standard press information such as full cast, story line, and star biographies) as well as ad sheets; a breakdown of other available advertising materials; radio commercial ideas; promotional games and ideas; contests, promotions, product tie-ins; and movie merchandising ideas.

Many campaign kits included buttons, giveaways, posters, negatives, etc. In short, a campaign book contained everything that a theatre would need to promote a successful movie campaign.


Campaign kits were used by movie studios as press materials as early as the 1910s. Their main purpose was to assist movie theatres and exhibitors with ideas for a successful movie campaign. Since the success of the movie had a direct financial impact on the studios, it was very important to them that movie theatres and exhibitors had all the tools at their fingertips to promote a successful exhibition.

As the years went on and advertising budgets decreased, the campaign kits and books became less elaborate. They were initially used to give the illusion of grandeur, but slowly evolved into showman's manuals and the present day press kit/press book. The elaborate campaign kit/campaign book of yesteryear is no longer used by studios. However, a more compact version of the campaign kit, which is commonly referred to as the press kit, is widely used by all motion picture companies. The term "campaign kit" is rarely used in today's movie market.


Because the campaign book contained so much information about a movie and its cast, campaign books are very popular with some collectors. In many cases, these kits/books are the only evidence of exactly what posters and related materials were released for a particular film. In addition, the campaign book can provide a means for determining the age of a poster if none is shown on the face of the poster. There are extremely important to dating of movie materials.


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