Harry Potter and the Not-So-Wizard Coca-Cola Wheeze

By Koster, Olinka | Daily Mail (London), October 18, 2001 | Go to article overview

Harry Potter and the Not-So-Wizard Coca-Cola Wheeze


Koster, Olinka, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: OLINKA KOSTER

SHE has always insisted that the phenomenal success of Harry Potter would not sway her into allowing his name to be exploited.

But J K Rowling is facing heavy criticism from parents and health professionals following a multimillion pound marketing deal with Coca-Cola.

The multimillionaire author has been accused of selling out by allowing her character to be used 'to market liquid candy to kids'.

Miss Rowling insists she went ahead with the deal, which could reportedly earn her up to [pound]10million, after a promise by Coca-Cola that it would run a campaign to encourage the young to read.

The tie-in is one of hundreds of merchandising agreements signed to coincide with the release of the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Set up by producers Warner Brothers, the deals cover everything from rucksacks to jelly beans and are said to be worth more than [pound]100million.

The campaign against the Coca-Cola link is being coordinated through a website, www.saveharry.com.

It encourages supporters to send an email urging Miss Rowling to scrap the deal and donate any royalties she has already received to fund nutrition campaigns. The site was set up by Michael Jacobson, executive director of the U.S.based Centre for Science in the Public Interest, known for its opposition to junk food.

'This is tying this new children's literary icon to junk food and it is just not something people would associate with Harry Potter,' he said.

Tim Lang, professor in food policy at Thames Valley University, said the Coca-Cola deal had tarnished a great British success story.

'It is a great shame,' he said.

'It just sends the wrong message. There is a health promotion trying to encourage children to look after their teeth. It is confusing good children's fun with the commercial marketing of lessthan-desirable drinks. …

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