Without a doubt, Harry Potter is one of the best-known fictional characters to inspire some of the most successful products of recent decades. Not only are the haunting tales of Potter’s adventures particularly well-crafted, the marketing empire has done well when it comes to captivating readers’ hearts, thereby eliciting the purchase of all the possible merchandise you can think of.
On April 12, 2012, the Harry Potter marketing machine opened ‘Pottermore’ – a website focusing on the unknown parts of the book series. It gave hungry readers a meeting place where they could spend their afternoons digging into additional storyline information and extra twists, and creating their own version of the imaginary world J. K. Rowling designed. For Harry Potter fans, Pottermore was the No. 1 online destination for them to live their lives in the world of heroes and wizards.
But not even the best can enjoy endless success. On September 22, 2015, a new version of Pottermore was launched that omitted all the options the fans had grown to love. Instead, Rowling’s team offered material on the new Pottermore website that very few fans had requested. The core focus and understanding of the basic wants of the typical Harry Potter fan seem to have left the drawing board of Rowling’s marketing team.
The old Pottermore website allowed fans to brew their own magic potions…
…and explore various layers of different worlds on a quest to solve difficult riddles, locate valuable items, and collect them for later use.
The old Pottermore also allowed fans to travel between mystical locations in order to help a beloved character or to open up new avenues of the existing storyline.
They could use maps to travel between locations to solve a mystery.
For those who like competition and interaction with other fans, it was possible to team up at the old Pottermore website, get to know other fans, and help each other to work out the most difficult riddles. And who doesn’t like to be crowned the hero of the day?
So, the old Pottermore was a well-designed website that was focused on meeting the demands of Rowling’s fans and everyone who followed the adventures of Harry Potter.
The New Pottermore Website (2015 version)
The completely overhauled Pottermore website removed nearly all of the popular features. A newly redesigned site was launched, focusing mainly on news and other information. All of the imaginary exploration and discovery was gone.
At the new web site, fans can explore what J.K. Rowling has written…
…and they can read extracts from the book series. (Most fans already have read them multiple times.)
Fans can see still photographs from the movie series and read about the motivation behind specific parts of the storyline.
It is clear that Rowling’s team has failed to upgrade their once-successful product. Not only have the desires and needs of the old site’s fans been completely rejected, the 2015 Pottermore website completely ignores Potter buffs’ wishes to be able to use their imagination to delve into Harry’s world. While the old product offered a universe filled with magic, the new website only offers news, book excerpts, and movie stills. It’s like turning Disneyworld into a historical museum of what it was in the old days.
Perhaps the reason behind this negative change is end of the Rowling’s collaboration with corporate giant Sony. The 2015 version was designed after Rowling’s people stopped working with Sony’s skilled marketing teams. Maybe there is a copyright reason behind this huge disappointment for Harry Potter fans, but whatever the reason is, Rowling’s team has not come up with a creative solution to keep them happy.
Meanwhile, Harry Potter’s devotees all over the world are looking to explore new worlds, many of which bear names other than Harry Potter. This might be a classic example of how a lack of creativity can push customers away.