Harry Potter,Stephen Brown, the construction of transmedia narrative, and the research angle

Wizard Picking up another thread from the Research magazine article last week. Actually I think they struggled to fit this one into a research context. The Harry Potter theme is drawn from Stephen Brown's take on the Harry Potter series: Wizard. Their take is that marketing is too rational and it's job is to put the magic back.

Professor Stephen Brown is shall we say a mercurial character. Who has written some marvellous and brilliantly eccentric books. Chief of whom is the Marketing Code a spoof of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code complete with all the puzzles and lots of insider marketing jokes. But Wizard is something special. Because he shows that the power of the Harry Potter phenomenon comes from the series of linked stories – that of JK Rowling, the 7 books  in the series, Bloomsbury publishing, the films, the merchandise. These stories stand by themselves but because they are linked there is always more to explore. And they self sustain and self promote without your needing to constantly spend marketing budget talking about the product.  Its an excellent introduction to how you need to think to construct transmedia narratives. It ought to be mandatory reading if you work in PR.

The way you use it for reseach is to set up your analysis in such a way that you are NOT trying to boil the data down to one level of interpretation but layering it and allowing the layers to feed and stimulate one another. Research is actually rather like applying a series of filters to draw out successive levels of understanding. There is no one answer. And the Harry Potter phenomenon is brilliant metaphor for a research project – who said what, what they did compared with what they said, what the client thought, what respondents thought of other respondents.And what they made of what the client said. And how the research is (and ISN'T) a microcosm of the society in which it was carried out. 

I must find the review of Wizard I posted a couple of years ago. If you follow the Marketing Code link you will find your way to my bookshop which is badly in need of an update. All of the books there are for sale on Amazon – and nearly all have been read and reviewed by me.

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