The case examines how the Harry Potter series of books led to the creation of a multi-billion dollar business for various companies across the world in the early 21st century. The creation, development and management of Harry Potter as a brand is examined in detail. The case then describes the various marketing and promotional activities taken up by Harry Potter's author and publishers in the UK and the US. Thereafter, the case examines how Warner Brothers (which acquired its worldwide licensing and movie rights), turned the brand into an immensely successful marketing property. The case also explains the reasons why Warner Brothers and J.K Rowling were very protective about the brand and what precautions they took to ensure that the brand's image does not get diluted. Finally, the case also comments about the future business prospects of the Harry Potter brand.
"Harry Potter is a bigger property than anything else we have ever seen, and we are nowhere near saturation point."
- Diane Nelson, Senior Vice President, Warner Brothers, in June 2003.HARRY POTTER'S MAGIC SPELLS SUCCESS FOR MANY!
In June 2000, a rather unusual story made the headlines of leading newspapers in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK). The story was about how the book, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,' had become the biggest publishing success in the history of the books business. The book (the third in a series of seven books about a boy named Harry Potter), authored by J.K. Rowling had broken all records at online book retailing majors Amazon and Barnes & Nobel with advance orders of 300,000 each.
Scholastic Inc (Scholastic), a US-based book publishing house, was one of the companies that benefited immensely from Harry Potter's phenomenal success. Scholastic published around 3.8 million first print copies of 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' in 2000. The company had reportedly sold 20.9 million copies of the first three books in the Harry Potter series, earning around $100 million from them in 2000. Judy Cowman, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Scholastic, said, "It is just an extraordinary publishing event. There has not been anything like it."
The Harry potter series not only raised the company's revenues but also generated significant investor interest. Scholastic's stock price reportedly increased to a record high of $74 at the end of the year from just $64 in July 2000. This, analysts said, had come as a boon for the company, which was still trying to recover from the 1997 debacle of 'Goosebumps,' another children's book, that had failed to perform well due to an ill-planned distribution strategy. With Harry Potter, Scholastic had been careful not to repeat its mistakes. Kevin McEnery, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Scholastic, said, "We have been very careful in the distribution of Harry Potter."
CREATION OF THE 'HARRY POTTER' BRAND
NURTURING THE 'HARRY POTTER' BRAND
MAKING MONEY FROM MAGIC
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HARRY POTTER?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
EXHIBIT I : A BRIEF NOTE ON THE HARRY POTTER STORY
EXHIBIT II : VARIOUS HARRY POTTER MERCHANDISING PRODUCTS*
ADDITIONAL READINGS OR REFERENCES
Case Code MKTG079
Study the importance of carefully designed marketing efforts for creating and managing strong brands.
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