My wife and I took our three sons to a Harry Potter book release party at a local bookstore last Friday evening. It was the second Potter book release party we had attended, so I knew to expect a fairly large crowd and a lot of young people. Friday night's event was as expected on those points, but I was surprised by the number of adults actively participating in events at the party, especially the costume contest. I have been familiar with Harry Potter books since the beginning of the series, but I always equated it with children and teens. However, the more I thought about it I realized that seeing a large contingent of young adults shouldn't surprise me as twenty-somethings were reading earlier J.K. Rowling books in their teen years. Some parents got hooked into the Potter series by reading books with their children or reading them before allowing their children to insure the content was age-appropriate. It was surprising initially to see so many adults dressed like the many children gathered, but I realized quickly it should not be surprising at all.
The excitement and passion displayed for Harry Potter at the book release party was very enjoyable to observe. I couldn't help but think how marketers would do almost anything to create a fraction of the passion and affinity among their customers that was exhibited by Potter fans. Brands like Apple, Harley Davidson, and Ikea can claim success in the ability to elict passion from the marketplace, but for most companies that idea is as much fiction as the adventures of young Mr. Potter!
P.S. - An interesting book about the passions held by people is Who Are You People?, by Shari Caughron. People with passions ranging from ice fishing to Barbie collecting are profiled. You'll never see "fanatics" the same way again after reading the book!
Labels: Consumer Behavior