Kathy Thomas Lecture
B(u)y the Book: Advertising and Marketing Exec for Half Price Books Speaks at TWU
By: Gigi Gregg
Executive Vice-President of Marketing and Development for Half Price Books, Kathy Doyle Thomas, spoke about the company’s design strategies as part of the Graphic Design Department’s Inspire[d] Design Lecture Series at TWU.
The audience, comprised of a group of graphic design, visual arts, marketing and business students and faculty, gathered in the East Gallery of the Visual Arts Building to learn more about the process of developing advertising campaigns and integrating them within the company’s retail stores and web site.
Thomas said that Half Price Books has an in-house design staff that creates designs for products, signage, t-shirts, book bags, gift cards and bookmarks. Such items act as “touch points with our customers,” she said.
Thomas emphasized the company’s dedication to causes such as literacy, free speech and the environment. She went on to explain how seasonal or current events influence advertising campaigns.
The presidential election, for example, inspired a campaign to educate customers about banned books. Visitors to Half Price Book’s web site voted for literary characters including Carrie Bradshaw, Atticus Finch, Harry Potter and the Grinch, all of whom are characters in banned books. Upon purchasing a banned book, customers received a campaign button for their favorite character.
Students also learned about professional practices in the design field. Thomas took questions and discussed the importance of networking, portfolio presentation and showing on-the-job initiative.
Half Price Books, which opened in Dallas in 1972, now has stores throughout 15 states and is “America’s favorite new and used bookstore chain,” according to the company’s web site.
Kathy Doyle Thomas
Executive Vice President, Half Price Books
Executive Vice President Kathy Doyle Thomas joined Half Price Books in July, 1989, and is responsible for the national marketing efforts for the retail and wholesale divisions of the company. She also heads the Half Price Books development group, leading expansion planning and site selection for the 101-store chain.
Prior to joining Half Price Books, Thomas spent several years in public broadcasting with KERA Channel 13, KERA 90.1 FM and KDTN Channel 2, where she was media supervisor and “DIAL” magazine editor.
Thomas’ professional achievements have been acknowledged with the Women in Communications’ Matrix and Clarion awards, the Dallas Advertising League’s Outstanding Member award, numerous National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting System advertising awards, several Dallas Advertising League TOPS awards, and the Dallas Press Club’s prestigious Katie award. She is on the advisory board of the Global Marketing Association, Better Business Bureau of Dallas and the National Clean Air Coalition. Thomas helped found Literacy USA, a national coalition of regional literacy organizations, and was the first member of its corporate advisory board, and continues to speak on literacy topics across the country. She also has consulted with the Department of Education on adult literacy initiatives.
Thomas has been very active with the National Retail Advertising and Marketing Association for several years and currently serves on its Board of Directors. In the past three years alone, she has led Half Price Books to numerous Racie awards, including three gold and two silver, and spearheaded the company’s “Say Good Night to Illiteracy” program which was honored with the Peter Glen Award in 2006. More recently, in 2007, Half Price Books won a silver Racie for its “B(eco)me Green” campaign.
Thomas holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas Christian University and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Texas. She is married and the mother of three children.
page last updated 11/9/2015 11:00 AM