Harry Potter and the “V”

NOTE:  If references to specific womanly parts makes you uncomfortable, you might not want to read the following post.

So I was sitting in the theater this weekend with my daughter waiting for the last Harry Potter to begin and ignoring the pre-movie commercials when I heard something I rarely hear at this time…laughter, lots of it. I looked up and caught the end of a in-theater spot and a tag, ‘Hail to the V’. When the laughter subsided I asked the person next to me what the commercial was for and he blithely answered, “Summers Eve”.



I turned away, embarrassed and feeling like I did when I was 13 and ‘those type’ of commercials came on during family viewing time.

But he went on.

“Best commercial I’ve ever seen during the pre-movie time.”

His girlfriend/friend/wife/whatever chimed in, “It’s about time they started having fun with this subject”, about the same time my 8-year old daughter asked, “Mom, what’s the V”?

After agreeing with the wife/etc., I turned to my daughter and told her that “v was for vagina”.

The man next to me turned bright red and asked me, “Should you be telling her that?”

Classic, and telling.  There are so many tangents I could go off on here–but I’ll stick with the one most appropriate for this blog.

After watching the awesome  movie that was the end of the Potter series, I went home and dug into this whole “V” thing.First, saw the whole commercial, the print and the “teaser” video…and to The Richards Group, I must say, you are vaginal! (Readers, watch the video, you’ll get it understand).  Although I did cringe a bit at the abrupt shift from hunky knight to female shopper, but that’s probably just me.

Second, excellent media placement. At first though I was a bit taken aback, because I was in the “this is a kids movie” frame of mind.  Except it isn’t “just” a kids movie.  And I was reminded of this when I Googled “Hail to the V” and part of what I saw was a lot of women posting questions like this:

“I went and saw Harry Potter (or Bad Bosses) and saw this commercial and I want to find out more about it/want to find it.”  If you are one of those people, the link is below.

And when you look at the demographics, it’s spot on.  The first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (it was dumbed down to ‘Sorcerer’s Stone” for us Yanks), was published almost exactly 14 years ago.  So not only do you have the group of then teen but now adult men and women that read it for themselves, but you have the group that read it with and/or to their children.

And the audience in the movie houses seems to be playing this out.  According to people I talked to who went to the midnight shows and opening day in various cities around the country, the makeup of the audience was a three-way split:  1/3 teens,  1/3 parents with children and 1/3 25+ with no children present.

Since then, according to my own experience and again those of people I know around the country, it’s been mainly the latter group, 25+ with no children present.  In fact, under the guise of looking for someone, I stood at the front of the packed theater and counted only 18 children, including mine, in the audience on Sunday.  In talking with the theater manager, she confirmed what I was seeing…that post-opening audiences were mostly older and coming to see the movie without children.

So, kudos for some smart media thinking on this…it’s not a movie where placement of this subject matter is a given.  It should get a “sheer, primal awesomeness” award (again, see video) for media strategy.

Third, the website,  I happen to be a person that loves solid carry through like this…the tonality, the “cunning lingua franca” (see video…again), the content fits with the what you initially see in the television and print that drives you to the site in the first place.  And while they are definately having fun with the subject matter, they also go deep offer up plenty of solid science and advice as well, making it a pretty engaging, effective site. (Question to Summer’s Eve:  Why are you using a man’s hand as a simulated vagina though on the website?”)

I do though, have to say that I think they were somewhat aided by the “Harry Potter Effect”.  In essence, it was a pretty giddy audience to begin with…they just didn’t laugh at the “Hail to the V” spot, they laughed at some pretty awful ones as well, ones that are typically ignored or groaned at.   But I think/hope that this was part of the overall brand and media strategy–the thought that this type of movie, one that is such a culminating cultural event,  if you will, that it would create an audience so anticipatory, so happily hyped-up that they are more receptive to what could be considered controversial or uncomfortable messages.

I’m interested see how Summer’s Eve plays this out:  is this a limited or long-term engagement?  Also, I hope they are forthcoming with the end-results and case study.  It’s always interesting to learn how this worked in terms of branding, sales and web-site engagement.

So, hail to the V!

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