Ferpi > News > Il leggendario Harris (della Golin Harris) descrive sulla rivista Ipra Frontline i maggiori successi

Il leggendario Harris (della Golin Harris) descrive sulla rivista Ipra Frontline i maggiori successi

11/05/2004

Da Windows 95 a Harry Potter...

Dal numero di Marzo di Front Line dell'Ipra:IPRA FRONTLINE 7View from the USALast issue we documented the phenomenal success of public relations-driven marketing programs for products as diverse as Ivory Soap, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and Viagra.This time we lead off my list of "MPR's Greatest Hits" with an entry from the wonderful world of technology. Public relations has become the predominant component of marketing success in the technology category.But Microsoft remains the champ. Before he met the Internet – and the United States Justice Department – Bill Gates masterminded a remarkable product introduction that outhyped them all. His was a public relations plan so brilliantly crafted that Windows 95 had achieved near universal awareness weeks before the product hit the stores and the ads aired.The PR plans transformed what was essentially a product upgrade into a milestone in computing, a "must have" product to make computing easier, faster and more fun.Microsoft used two public relations firms. Its technology agency worked with the technology media while a consumer PR specialist agency was assigned to blast the story out in magazines, newspapers, radio and TV. The events of August 24, 1995 were truly global in scope. TV coverage kicked off west of the international dateline when CNN covered the sale of the first copy of Windows 95 from New Zealand.More than 2,500 invited guests including 500 journalists attended the introductory ceremonies at the company's Redmond,Washington campus. A closed circuit TV extravaganza hosted by Bill Gates was beamed to corporate headquarters and media in major cities. Gates threw a party for 7,000 of his best friends in Paris and handed out an entire day's run of the London Times free to all passers-by. The PR campaign generated an amazing 99% awareness before the ad campaign broke. The result of all the hoopla was that Windows 95 instantly became the top selling software program in the world – a position it held for three years – until the introduction of Windows 98.A sidebar. The introduction of Windows 95 awakened the interest of marketing guru Al Ries in public relations. He told The Wall Street Journal that, "The lesson in this is that good advance PR can be just as effective asspending millions on ad campaigns." By 2003, Al had been won over completely and published a book that has become near and dear to PR people called The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. A book in which he claims that only public relations can build a brand and that advertising should be used to maintain the brand.Finally, we visit the international book marketing phenomenon of the century. In the beginning Harry Potter mania was started by a simple world of mouth campaign. No ads, no displays, no parties, certainly no embargoes.Before the first Potter book was released, copies were circulated to influential critics, librarians and news media. By the time book three was published, hundreds of stories had appeared not only about the books but the rags to riches story of author J.K. Rowling. Sixty Minutes profiled her at the now historic table at an Edinburgh coffee house where she jotted down the first Harry ideas on a napkin. By the time Book Four Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire appeared a year later, the story had taken on a life of its own. Rowling made a whistle-stop personal appearance tour of the UK aboard an old fashioned steam-powered train labeled "The Hogwarts Express." The New York Times described the tour as "the centerpiece of a publicity stunt timed to celebrate and feed the frenzy stirred by the latest Potter book published to great hullabaloo today." Granted an exclusive interview with the authoress, Newsweek magazine ran cover stories on Harry in two consecutive issues.The frenzy was further fed by embargoing the title, the plot, the cover design and even the length of the book until midnight of publication day. When the local clocks struck twelve, bookstores on both sides of the Atlanticheld costume parties, got great gobs of media attention and sold record numbers of books.This summer in the US, it was Time magazine's turn. Their cover story featured a bevy of kids wearing Harry specs and an eight-page story on "Why Harry Potter Rules." Rowling was pregnant when Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix went on sale. So she limited her publicity involvement to an appearance before 4,000 children in London where she read from her book and answered kids' questions, an event that was webcastaround the world.Far from the simple word of mouth campaign that launched the first Harry book, the publisher dropped a record $3 to $4 million on marketing this time.They shipped 400,000 buttons and 24,000 stand-up Harry cut-outs and Countdown Clocks to bookstores. And distributed more than 15,000 "event kits" to bookstores and other retail outlets with detailed play-byplay instructions on how to run a party, how to get media coverage and even how to handle long lines of tired kids at midnight.This time the publisher took to the baseball diamond, running costume parties, scoreboard promotions and book giveaways at big league parks in Baltimore, Seattle, Houston and Oakland. This Harry like the others zoomedinstantly to the top of the bestseller list and quickly became the biggest book of the new century. The first printing, a mere 8.5 million copies in the US was sold out. So far the four Harry Potter books have sold more than 200 million copies in 55 languages spanning more than 200 countries. Due in no small part tothe power of marketing public relations.The first chapter of the German translation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix appeared in one of 19 street newspapers sold by the homeless in subways, shopping districts and bars in Germany, Austria andSwitzerland. This unique sampling device preceded the release of the German language edition. There's a great triple treat MPR event for you. Eager readers will get a taste of Harry, the homeless will get a dollar a copy for lunch money, and the mainstream media will get a great story.Thomas L. Harris
Thomas L. Harris was a founder of Golin/Harris, one of the world's leading public relations firms. Today he runs Thomas L. Harris & Co. based in Illinois,conductsresearch on the industry and publishes a regular newsletter.
 

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