J.K. Rowling's mysterious new website Pottermore really will be the front for an ambitious online gaming network. That's according to an internal memo detailing the site's PR strategy that, according to The Independent's Rob Sharp, was "sent to every national newspaper in the country earlier this week." It's unclear if there was an embargo placed on the news or if the document is genuine, but it lines up with the speculation that the Harry Potter author wants to turn her franchise into a World of Warcraft-style online game. Rowling's official press conference is still slated for tomorrow.
The full text of 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
Update: A representative from Rowling's PR firm tells Paid Content that the memo is genuine, but denies the leak was intentional and says some of the details have already been scrapped. “Much as we would like to say this is an elaborate stunt to create excitement, I’m afraid it was a simple error,”explains the rep. “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.”
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