Eight hundred and fifty pages, coloured roughly with 2,000 images, fuelled by around 200,000 words — all of which is housed in a clamshell box and weighs approximately 37 kilogrammes. This is an Opus, or simply, a large-format book.
As the commercial director of Opus Media Group, publisher of the Opus, Paul Murphy is the man responsible for ensuring that these highly-intricate works of art make it to the market.
“[CEO] Karl Fawler and myself set up the company together about eight years ago,” says Murphy, as he sits in Mall of the Emirates’ Harvey Nichols, facing the newly launched official Ferrari Opus collection.
He goes on to recount how it all began: “Both of us come from a financial background and we were both heavily involved in the sports and entertainment sectors. So, for a period of time, we would make gifts of very expensive books for our special clients.”
But that was before the economic downturn, when expensive gifts were part and parcel of a more affordable lifestyle.
“Then, we started thinking about it,” says Murphy. “Is this something that we should be involved in? We had very good connections in the sports and entertainment sectors so we looked at the possibily of bringing our clients to the table and bringing a particular type of book to the table, and then possibly doing something quite unique that at the same time could be profitable," he adds.
It was at that point that the pair devised the concept of the large-format book. “The thing that puts people off creating [these] books is the cost. You know, if you are creating something that has got 300 pages, it is a lot cheaper than something with 800 pages,” he points out, adding: “And, if you look at the volume of paper involved in something like this — it is hugely substantial. But even more so is the binding; no machine can bind a book that size so you need to have it hand-stitched."
Opus Media Group's first book was for the British football club, Manchester United Football Club. “They are a brand that transcends the sport. If you are a hockey fan, you know who Manchester United are — and that was key for us — whichever brand that we worked with had to be a global brand,” he says.
Murphy analysed the football club’s database and saw massive potential: “They have 60,000 season ticket holders and 1.5 million people on their members database. I [knew that if] we could strike a deal with Manchester United, we would be able to access that database,” he explains.
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