Coke Tapped for `Harry Potter'

Tuesday, February 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — You wanna be cool, muggles? Drink Coke.

Warner Bros. has picked the Coca-Cola Co. as its sole promotional partner for the upcoming movie ``Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,'' the soft drink giant and studio announced Tuesday.

The deal will put $150 million of Coke marketing muscle behind the film as part of a global campaign tied to the movie's Nov. 16 U.S. release.

``It was tremendously important that we create a partnership that would have the ability to globally support the power and magic of Harry Potter,'' said Brad Ball, president of domestic marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures.

The ad campaign will include the placement of Harry Potter-related images on Coca-Cola, Minute Maid and Hi-C packaging. It won't, however, extend to product placement in the movie or images of Harry drinking Coke.

The campaign also will abandon common promotional gimmicks for movies geared to children, such as sweepstakes and giveaways through fast-food chains. Instead, literacy will be stressed.

``The key to our plan will be about relationships, local communities, connecting with people one-on-one and looking at the things we traditionally do in a whole new way.'' said Tom Long, Coca-Cola division president for Great Britain and Ireland.

The film, based on the first of author J.K. Rowling's best-selling children's novels, stars 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe as the child wizard and Richard Harris as his mentor, Professor Dumbledore.

In the story, Harry discovers he is among a select group of wizards when he is invited to a world kept secret from non-magical people, known derisively as muggles.