Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling’s PR representative, Mark Hutchinson, has confirmed to us that a Pottermore.com memo leaked to UK newspapers was indeed sent out mistakenly by a staff member and was not part of a marketing stunt. The memo, which is after the jump, talks about, among other things, a scavenger hunt called “Quill Quest” where fans search for magic wands physically planted in real world locations.
Hutchinson’s firm, Mark Hutchinson Management, handles PR for J. K. Rowling and Pottermore.com in collaboration with another firm, StonehillSalt PR. Hutchinson told us in an e-mail that the memo was old and was mistakenly sent out by a staff member at StonehillSalt. He said that Colman Getty, the PR agency mentioned in the memo (below), was not responsible. Colman Getty handles J. K. Rowling’s Lumos charity.
“Much as we would like to say this is an elaborate stunt to create excitement, I’m afraid it was a simple error,” Hutchinson said. “The document is an old plan which is now out of date. The full details about the Pottermore project will be revealed at the press conference tomorrow.”
London marketing agency Adam & Eve also confirmed to us that it is handling the marketing campaign for Pottermore.com.
Here’s the memo.
Project Momentum: A PR timeline
The following timeline has been drafted to complement and build on the launch marketing strategy from Adam & Eve.
As the number of people in the know about the project increases, so does the possibility of a leak. In the event of the news breaking early, Colman Getty will draft and issue an instant statement to tie in with the ‘coming soon’ online message.
We would like as a priority to draft and start getting agreement on the key messages. We also want to identity and brief the key spokespeople from each of the project partners so that we are prepared, should the story leak.
However, assuming that the news does hold until we are ready to announce it, our suggested timeline is as follows:
End June/early July – Jo announces the launch on YouTube
CG will issue a global press release to coincide. This will cover the excitement of the news plus why the site is being launched, who the project partners are and what users can expect to find, with a particular emphasis on the Quill Quest
We will also make sure that the same info is simultaneously posted on Jo’s official site, referring users to Pottermore
From July to October
Colman Getty will handle media enquiries and consider other opportunities for coverage eg the beginning of the school holidays, the back to school stage. We will also issue facts and figures as the project unfolds – eg the level of demand for the site, how many people have actually enrolled, how many wands have been physically laced and found. We need, however, to avoid issuing too much information and possibly overbuilding expectations. Best to leave most of the news spreading to the fans themselves.
Again we feel that the overt PR input should be kept to the minimum with the fans and the site itself creating most of the headlines. We love the idea of a Daily Prophet wrap and would be happy to broker that deal with the paper of our choice, both in the UK and the US. It’s such a fantastic story that we feel it should not be paid for but placed as unpaid editorial.
Colman Getty, December 2010