The perfect 21st century marketing campaign? The launch of J.K.Rowling’s digital platform to discover the stories behind the Harry Potter novels (and to sell eBooks) was created as an online treasure hunt.
For the first part of the campaign we dropped a set of coordinates on each of 10 Harry potter fan sites. Each coordinate led to a letter in streetview on our Google Maps based microsite. By working together the fans could find all of the letters to form the word ‘Pottermore’. After less than 4 hours we had generated interest of thousands of fans, several of the fan sites crashed under the heavy traffic.
The second part was a global countdown: several places around the web (sony.com amongst others) and even a billboard on Times Square were populated with more and more owls every day, these all led to a YouTube channel where the announcement was brought to users using a custom channel widget built for this purpose. By this time the interest had peaked, and making sure the channel widget would stand up to the traffic was a real challenge.
The aim of the third and final part of the campaign was to take all the excitement generated by the first two parts of the campaign and filter it down to the most eager users, as only a selected few could enter the beta, and there was a serious risk of over loading the servers for the registration process. When arriving on the site users were sent of with a hint to find one of our banners. Once found they had to play a game to be able to continue to the registration. The biggest challenge here was to ensure users on the registration page did actually come from one of the banners.
A technically challenging campaign, but through careful preparation a great success.