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A Harry Potter Happy Meal?

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"Scholastic Inc., concerned about protecting the investment of printing 8.5 million books - perhaps the biggest press run in book-publishing history - is preparing its biggest-ever national marketing campaign so that J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' (See Editor's note below) can hit the ground running." - The Wall Street Journal (May 19)

From: Scholastic Inc. Director of Marketing

To: Potter Publicists

As we prepare for the magical first-day-of-summer release of the fifth Harry Potter book, I'd just like to review the marketing basics so we're all on the same broom (ha!).

Some have questioned the wisdom of hiring additional staff, but given the importance of this title, we felt it was prudent to assign every child in America his or her own publicist. Obviously, this presents special logistical challenges. We've received early reports that a few parents don't want their children followed by publicists chanting, "Buy it, buy it, buy it, buy it." If you sense any objection to your presence from your target's parents, consider wearing the Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak from Mattel ($29.95).

At 896 pages, "The Order of the Phoenix" won't be an easy book to move - or even lift, so please emphasize the optional wheels that can be affixed to the spine ($19.95).

Some muggles may have concerns about the appropriateness of turning a pleasant fantasy novel into the center of a marketing blitz involving Happy Meals, action figures, key chains, room furnishings, clothing, linens, bath accessories, holiday-tree ornaments, and novelty cheese. But at Scholastic Inc., we know that nothing encourages the quiet, solitary pleasure of reading like Nintendo's new "Hogwarts of Doom" ($69).

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