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Harry Potter teaches a lesson in communications

[from an article by Noreen O'Leary in AdWeek about the future of the ad industry]

While the hype this year trumpeted media as the industry's new creative outlet, some argue the death of the ad agency, and its ability to connect with consumers through traditional creative means, has been greatly exaggerated.

"One of the most significant events of the year for me occurred on June 21, where in the space of 24 hours, 5 million copies of a book, printed in 52 languages, were sold, and within the next seven days, 875 pages of dense type was devoured by the people who bought it," says Andrew Robertson, CEO of BBDO North America. He points out that the Harry Potter series relies on a technology—printing—that has hardly changed since 1450, and that its appeal transcends age, gender and culture. "Harry Potter restores your faith that compelling content will engage people everywhere from Idaho to Iran," he says. "That's a lesson for us about communications."

Published December 23, 2003

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