"I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation," she said. "I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have."
And there's the linchpin to the buzzup, enough so that even entering an email address for upcoming registration announcements can take some time. (Some fans report that they attempted to register for 5 and half hours before their email was accepted.) The new site will allow fans to help expand the world of Harry Potter along with Rowling in October.
The site, which is being developed by Sony in cooperation with Rowling, is packed with ideas — some shopping oriented (an exclusive place to purchase e-books) and some interactive. The interactive portion includes registered members being asked questions by the Sorting Hat (placing newcomers in Hogwarts houses) and a Wand Chooser (which selects one of 33,000 possibilities).
That's for starters. Rowling will apparently add to the Harry Potter legend and, in contrast to some previous brush ups, encourage fan-generated art, stories, etc. (At the same time, it may also help the copyright holders to corral infringements.)
An Integrated Approach To Maketing: Pottermore.
• Press conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. (Traditional Publicity)
• Detailed electric press kit with preview pictures and pictures of the author. (Traditional PR)
• Shareable direct video message (although stiff) from the author on YouTube. (Digital Media)
• Early email page registration page for Pottermore, which also includes the video. (Direct Response)
• Upcoming contest where registrants will compete for one of 1 million spots to beta test the site. (Promotions)
• Cohesive position statement, carried forward across all promotion efforts. (Advertising)
• Dedicated timeline of events, stretching the campaign from the movie release through October. (Marketing)
• Full social media program including Twitter and Facebook. (Social Media)
• Full existing asset support from various fan forums and other online assets. (Co-Op Marketing)
• Dovetail marketing awareness generated by traditional movie marketing efforts, including television. (Traditional Advertising)
Integrated Marketing Makes The Allure Of Interactive Seem Fresh.
The concept of interactive stories (and online gaming) isn't new. Neal Stephenson, author of the Diamond Age was working with fellow author Greg Bear to cowrite a subscription-based historical novel about Genghis Khan conquests. The online story also includes interactive and participatory storytelling.
But what sets the Pottermore campaign apart is in the simplicity of the message (it's not littered with creativity) and integration of the marketing. Everything lines up and it works together. There is no need to think of every tiny piece as something that makes a marketing to-do list as Eric Brown recently proposed. No, there is no addition or subtraction of elements.
Everything that works is included. And if something doesn't work as well, there are some contingencies in the wings. For example, the Facebook presence seems largely overdone, with no clear path for fans to know which one to choose (other than by language, I mean). But consolidating those pages will be easy enough, especially after Pottermore fully launches in October.
By the way, I didn't include every marketing element in the hot list above. Sony has several more in play. The ones on the bullet list were chosen primarily to illustrate how elements of the campaign touch different communication principles.
Who's in charge? Having worked with Sony on a campaign before, my guess is that no one team member has any more authority than another (although directors do have oversight). Instead, everybody brings ideas to the table. And that's smart.