PR Play of the Week: Tiny muggles go wild about Harry

The Encyclopedia Potterica defines ’howler’ as ’a letter which yells messages at extremely loud volumes when opened.’ One could argue that the national media released quite a few howlers over the latest installment in author J.K. Rowling’s beloved series of novels, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The Encyclopedia Potterica defines ’howler’ as ’a letter which yells messages at extremely loud volumes when opened.’ One could argue that the national media released quite a few howlers over the latest installment in author J.K. Rowling’s beloved series of novels, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The Encyclopedia Potterica defines ’howler’ as ’a letter which

yells messages at extremely loud volumes when opened.’ One could argue

that the national media released quite a few howlers over the latest

installment in author J.K. Rowling’s beloved series of novels, Harry

Potter and the Goblet of Fire.



Publisher Scholastic pulled off a deliciously mysterious marketing

strategy, refusing to release the title to booksellers unless they

signed an agreement not to peek at the cover until midnight on July 8.

The plan kept eager readers in the dark and elevated the buzz to the

level of a Who concert.



The midnight sale piqued the creativity of PR pros, as Barnes & Noble

transformed its shops into ’Potter Towns’ while a magician made the book

appear at a Borders outlet at 12:01.



You know it’s big when the Grey Lady gets into the act: The New York

Times’ normally reserved Janet Maslin said the frenzy ’went beyond any

reasonable response to fiction.’



’J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter have created publishing history,’ crowed

Scholastic’s president. Meanwhile, Amazon dubbed the event ’e-commerce

history.’ That’s quite a bit of media play for a young boy.



But the PR bonanza extended far beyond Scholastic and Amazon. For the

first 250,000 orders placed on Amazon, FedEx provided free upgrades to

overnight delivery. Alas, UPS, which usually delivers for Amazon,

decided that being part of the biggest literary event since the

Gutenberg Bible wasn’t worth the free shipping - bad choice.



While some indie booksellers said Amazon got preferential treatment,

their cries were drowned out by the whoops of delight from Potter

fans.



Think the hype is over? Think again. Rumors are flying about which

Hollywood muggles (Potter parlance for non-magic folk) will be starring

in the upcoming Warner Bros. movie.



Nominations for PR Play of the Week should be sent to news@prweekus.com



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