Selling stories: Harry Potter and the marketing plot



Most families in the Western world are aware of Harry Potter, the stupendously successful stories about a boy wizard “who lived.” Most families are familiar with the shadow tales attached to Harry Potter—the tales of the rags to riches author, the mega-blockbuster movies, the forthcoming theme park in Florida, the long lines of enthusiastic consumers outside book stores at midnight. Harry Potter, in short, is a Niagara of narratives, a sea of stories. This paper plots the Harry Potter stories onto Booker's seven-element theory of narrative emplotment and considers how consumers interact with the Harry Potter brand phenomenon. Three consumer narratives of engagement are evident—discovery, diachronic, and denial—as is the disagreement between battling plots. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.