Avada Kedavra Harry Potter?: The Magical Marketing of the Harry Potter Brand

By BKV in BKV News on July 15th, 2011



For many...

the release of the final Harry Potter movie today marks the end of an era. By now you’ve probably seen the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, or perhaps you’re seeing it this weekend, but we wanted to memorialize this sobering, yet historic occasion with an ode to Harry Potter and a look back at the success of a series that defined a generation.

Lumos! Shining Light on Harry Potter’s Success :

The magic of the Harry Potter brand is what has made the series so successful. The story of the “Boy Who Lived” is known throughout the world and has touched millions of lives. Has your brand lost the magic that once drove it forward? If so, it’s time to put the magic back in your brand. Go back to your core competencies and the ideas that sparked your company or brand and make sure you’re staying true to your mission. The Harry Potter series and movies have delighted fans by being consistent and true to the story, staying fresh and creative, and taking every opportunity to wow the fans. The franchise has successfully leveraged social media in marketing and has created stunning visual advertisements that have become collectibles. People have even created their own spinoff personalities on Twitter based on the series, such as our favorite, the dark wizard @Lord_Voldemort7. Your brand should take opportunities to engage with customers creatively, whether that is in the social space, through traditional advertisements with a twist, or creative personalities and mascots.  

It’s clear that the powerful Harry Potter brand has been successful in the past, but the release of the last movie today poses the question: “What Happens to this Famous Brand Next?” Is this the end of Harry Potter? Read below to get our take on Harry’s rise to fame, his success, and what his future holds.  

*Note* We don’t want to wave the Confundus Charm at you if you aren’t in the know about all the Harry Potter lingo, so see the key below with the meanings of the spells used throughout this blog—Just don’t let Professor Snape catch you cheating.


Accio Fans!

From humble beginnings to an internationally acclaimed author who’s richer than the Queen of England and worth a reported $1 billion, J. K. Rowling's life has been irrevocably changed by the Harry Potter series. According to the above infographic by Mikey Burtonfor Fast Company, more than 400 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide, making it the number one selling series of all time.  Rowling currently has more than 550,500 followers on Twitter despite the fact that she has only tweeted 7 times in the two years she’s had her account.

Fans instantly flocked to the series upon its initial release and since then have been part of an emotional rollercoaster. They’ve witnessed through Harry the emotional abuse by his extended family, his joyful reunion with his godfather, Sirius, only to yet again have his family ripped away, and (spoiler alert) the death of Dumbledore, one of the only constant figures in his life. Harry’s been through a lot in the seven years that the series chronicles, and so have the fans that have lived vicariously through him.

The magic of Harry Potter is in the details. J.K. Rowling created an incredibly and dizzyingly detailed world with her series, leaving readers amazed and immersed in the magical world. The movies have followed suit, including as many magical elements as possible to please the die-hard fans. The result has been loyalty to the franchise by millions of fans who line up hours, even days before book and movie premieres dressed in their wizarding robes with wands in hand.

Alohomora! Unlocking the Key to Success

The power of the Harry Potter brand is astounding. Everyone’s wanted a piece of Harry Potter since the series exploded into popularity, spawning every product imaginable, from the typical merchandise such as t-shirts, video games, movies, and wands, to the new Universal Harry Potter Theme Park, and even Harry Potter-inspired Jelly Belly beans in wild flavors from the books, such as grass, rotten egg, and yes, even booger. Apparently the Harry Potter name on a product means it can do no wrong, even spelling success for the long-overlooked booger jelly bean niche market.

The movie franchise has been unbelievably successful, conjuring more than $6.4 billion worldwide and making Harry Potter the “highest-grossing franchise in box-office history.”

Short of making a deal with the franchise to create a Harry Potter–themed product, brands can learn from the success of the franchise by staying true to fans, paying attention to the details, and being creative in coming up with new products and services to entertain customers.

Avada Kedavra Harry Potter?

Posters advertising the final movie in the series claim, “It All Ends” 7.15. But Harry Potter is the “Boy Who Lived.” You can’t just Avada Kedavra the series and say “It All Ends” today. The series will live on in the hearts of the fans, the books that will be passed on for generations, in Pottermore, Rowling’s official new website with extras from the series due to launch this fall, and in marketing history. Unless J.K. Rowling fires an Obliviate memory charm at all of the fans, this series will continue to live on, just like the Boy Who Lived.

So chin up and Expecto Patronum Harry Potter fans! And to all the companies out there, take a page out of Harry’s book and add a little magic to your brand today.

[1] Avada Kedavra: The Killing Curse; Causes instant, painless death to whomever the curse hits. There is no countercurse or method of blocking this spell; however, if someone sacrifices their life for someone else, the person who was saved will not encounter any adverse effects of any curses by the specific attacker (e.g. when Lily Potter sacrificed her life for Harry Potter at Voldemort's hands, Harry became immune to curses cast by Voldemort). One of the three Unforgivable Curses.

[2] Lumos: Spell that creates a narrow beam of light that shines from the wand's tip, like a torch [3] Confundus Charm: Causes the victim to become confused, befuddled, overly forgetful and prone to follow simple orders without thinking about them. [4] Accio: This charm summons an object to the caster, potentially over a significant distance  

[5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2979033.stm

[6] http://www.therichest.org/world/forbes-richest-self-made-women-billionaires/ [7] http://geektyrant.com/storage/post-images-2011/Numerology%20Harry%20Potter%20And%20The%20Multibillion-Dollar%20Empire.jpeg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1308835927226 [8] Alohomora: Used to open and/or unlock doors, but doors can be bewitched so that this spell has no effect. [9]  http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/6/23/harry-potter-and-the-multibillion-dollar-empire-infographic.html [10] Especto Patronum: Conjures an incarnation of the caster's innermost positive feelings, such as joy, hope, or the desire to survive, known as a Patronus. A Patronus is conjured as aprotector, and is a weapon rather than a predator of souls: Patronuses shield their conjurors from Dementors and can even drive them away.