By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk
For any us mothers with teenagers we are all aware that today is the official release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth Harry Potter film in the series. My daughter and her friends attended the midnight show last night and didn't get to see it at their usual movie theater location since that one was already sold out. Now that my daughter has friends that are old enough to drive at night, we don't have to worry about which parent is going to go with them or stay up late enough to pick them up. They drove themselves all back to my house and I woke up with four young bodies sleeping in our living room this morning.
My older daughter is currently away this week attending a summer drama camp, so I don't know if she's seen the movie yet. If not she probably will by tonight. Since she came home from her freshman year in college she's been talking about this film and reread the first three books to get back into the story again. She even got her dad reading the books now. He just finished the second book and she's thrilled that he's reading them. My turn is next which I promised I would do when we go on our summer vacation this year.
Both of my daughters, who are just a little over a year apart in age, really grew up with Harry. It has been an really wonderful experience and they can't thank J. K. Rowling enough for inventing these characters and the world that they live in. They constantly are throwing out character names and phrases that leave me bewildered. Even though I haven't read the books, I have seen the movies, so I'm not completely ignorant about what they're talking about. I wrote about Harry Potter before in this blog post back in July, 2007 which was Harry Potter Month since the 5th movie was released, Order of the Pheonix, followed 10 days later with the release of the last book, Deathly Hallows.
As Harry Potter has grown, so as the marketing for this latest film release and Warner Brothers has really embraced emerging media. Not only can fans visit a very interactive website, they can also engage on social media sites and become a fan on Facebook which currently is showing 400,577 fans and quickly rising as I write this post. On Twitter Harry Potter is the top trending topic today and has been on the top 10 list since last week. It's fascinating to follow the tweets that are coming in from all over the world in different languages. The movie also has its official Twitter Page where you can follow the feed of tweets as well.
There are many blogs and social networks that have been created about Harry Potter which are not all officially associated with J.K. Rowling or Warner Brothers. One very popular site is The Leaky Cauldron which started back in 2000 as a one page news roll and has grown into a big destination for fans. They also host a community called My Leaky which is the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the web currently reporting 75,000 members.
And of course, there are many interactive promotions associated with the film. Warner Brothers is sponsoring a Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Prop Sweepstakes which invites fans to register as a WB Studio Insider for a chance to win an original Harry Potter movie prop and other Harry Potter prizes. Also if fans upload a photo taken of themselves and their friends at the movie theater in front of a Harry Potter movie poster or in their Harry Potter "movie gear" they get 10 extra chances to win. It's being promoted via the official website , on Facebook and also on Twitter.
Hot Topic is sponsoring the Harry Potter Golden Snitch Sweepstakes which starting today they are inviting "Seekers to Catch the Golden Snitch" which is hidden somewhere on HotTopic.com. $100 gift cards will be given out each hour and the grand prize will be awarded to one of the 24 hourly winners who will receive a $1000 gift card and a Harry Potter Merch prize package that includes a golden snitch signed by a cast member.
On YouTube fans could enter the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Advanced Potion-Making Experience Contest by creating and uploaded a video that shows and explains their unique potion concoction. The video needed to describe the ingredients, the name of the potion and what the potion's results are. Six finalists were selected by the judges who then invited the public to vote for the final winner. The rules say that the winner will be announced today, but currently the site is still showing only the 6 finalists and not a grand prize winner yet. So stay tuned.
Mobile marketing is also in the mix. Apple has developed a free Harry Potter iPhone app that is available at the iTunes store where fans can unlock new memory vials within Dubledore's Pensieve and insert themselves and their friends into a wanted poster of the Daily Prophet. Apple is also offering fans Harry Potter downloads such as movie clips, a podcast and the movie soundtrack. For the Firefox browser a custom Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince skin is available that fans can download.
Well Harry Potter definitely has become a marketing power house. We'll have to see what the majority of fans are saying about this 6th film. The response that I got from the teenage bodies in my living room this morning was not very positive. They all say the books are so much better than the films. So if you see the film or get input from your friends and family that see it, please pass it along here.