Published in Editorials

Why Pottermore is one of the most brilliant marketing schemes ever

by on08 August 2011 1572 times

advertising-pottermoreIf you have not heard of Harry Potter then you have been living under a rock. The Boy Wizard has become this generations Star Wars. The series of seven books has amassed a serious number of followers (I have read them) while the movies have spawned a monster of a merchandising machine.

As I live in Florida I have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure more than once and after being open for almost a year there is still a multi-hour wait to get into some of the stores.  However, even though the creator of this phenomenon makes a good deal of money from all of this it is not as much as she could.

The solution? Well J.K. Rowling has teamed up with Sony Entertainment to create an online virtual world called Pottermore. In this new virtual world they are extending the world created in the books to allow fans (both young and old) to take on new personalities and experience the world of Hogwarts (the best Wizarding School in Brittan and pretty much the central location in the books. Officially the new site opens up in October, but ever since it was announced they have teased about a close Beta beginning on July 31st. At first all you had to do was submit an e-mail before July 31st.

However, because of that most people submitted the e-mail and that was that. People still visited Pottermore.com but it was not as much as it could have been (at least from what we are hearing). So how do you fix that? Again a simple answer. You change your mind before the morning of the 31st.
Fans began to hear that for the Beta there was only going to be 1 million people allowed to enter. Now that is a pretty big number until you realize that more than a million people went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (the final film in the series) on opening weekend and it is still going strong many weeks later.

So, on the morning of the 31st at 8am London time fans flocked to Pottermore.com in the hopes to be one of the few to get in. However, the powers that be changed their minds once again. Instead of letting people in they were going to have a multiday (seven for the seven books to be exact) scavenger hunt (maybe they stole that idea from us…). On each day you would have to hit the site by 8am London time (3am Eastern Time in the US) and try to find something called the Magic Quill. Each day a clue (a question that could be answered if you have access to or have read the books) would be posted on Pottermore.com. This Clue would give you a site to go to at Pottermore.com. There you could click on a flash image that of the Magical Quill and you could put your name in for the Beta. Even if you had the answer you had to be quick. If you did not get your submission in before that days allotted number of positions was filled you were out of luck.
But wait! There were still four more days so everyone that did not get in check back tomorrow! As you can see what Sony has done is create a site that is going to have other companies clambering to put ads on it. Before the site is even live they have found a way to get multiple millions of hits (perhaps even tens of millions).  From what we are hearing although the early entries are done no one has actually gotten into the site. In order to do so you have to wait for an e-mail to arrive with a special link to gain access to the site. While everyone waits they are still going back multiple times every day to see if anything has changed. Can you imagine the advertising allure of a site like this, especially one that is already geared towards kids and teens? J.K. Rowling may truly want to create something for the fans of her books, but I am certain that the executives at Sony are seeing nothing but dollar signs at this point.

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*updated 08-08-2011 17:46PM EST with correction on number of days the magic quill was available

Last modified on 08 August 2011
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