WHAT THE MEDIA SAY: Coke's Harry Potter deal wins praise

Organisation: Coca-Cola



Issue: Sponsorship of Harry Potter film



News of Warner Brothers' sole marketing partnership with Coca-Cola for

the Harry Potter film was greeted with enthusiasm by industry

commentators and business analysts alike.



The deal, reported to be among the largest-ever global marketing

initiatives undertaken by either company, attracted praise for the

emphasis placed on philanthropy, literature, reading and community.



The decision not to include product placement in the film and to move

away from traditional marketing techniques such as give-aways was said

to be due to the influence of Harry Potter author, JK Rowling.



Purdue University Professor of Consumer Sciences and Retailing Richard

Feinberg claimed 'the partnership should prove a coup for Coke'

(yahoo.com, 23/2).



Coca-Cola was reported to be in need of a successful marketing campaign,

following unfavourable exposure over product contamination scares in

recent years, and slumping sales growth (wjs.com, 20/2).



Both Feinberg and Vertical Marketing Mix CEO John Zamoiski were

confident that the partnership between Coca-Cola and Harry Potter could

not fail to be a success (yahoo.com, 21/2).



Industry commentators, however, did not account for the actions of

Warner Brothers. The company's decision to send letters threatening

legal action over copyright violations to children who had created Harry

Potter fan websites generated considerable anger.



This action also inspired the creation of the 'Potter War' and the

'Defence Against the Dark Arts' campaigns, which called for a boycott of

all Warner Brothers' Harry Potter merchandise under the slogan, 'If

you're going to be nasty, you can't have any pocket money'

(potterwar.org.uk, 26/2).



Although Warner Brothers admitted that 'the tone of the letters did not

take into account that Harry Potter is unique and many of the recipients

were innocent, young fans' (usatoday.com, 22/2), it did not retract its

demand for the surrender of domain names and closure of websites.



Defence Against the Dark Arts' mission statement bluntly asked if the

new 'price for corporate advancement ... (was) sacrificing children'

(dprophet.com, 26/2).



Commentator Mitch Albom concluded 'kids around the globe are getting a

new education, not about spells and potions, but about greed'

(freepress.com, 25/2).



Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found

at: www.echoResearch.com.



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