Harry Potter and the deathly PR cock-up

A PR firm working on the eagerly anticipated online follow up to the Harry Potter books mistakenly leaked details of the secretive project to the national press – including what strategy to adopt in the event of a leak.

A PR executive Scottish-based StoneHillSalt sent details of the ‘Pottermore’ project to around a dozen journalists at newspapers including The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sun and Metro.

According a report in today’s Independent, the document contained details of a confidential PR strategy document relating to the official announcement – which the paper says has been ‘shrouded in mystery for several weeks’– and detailed ‘what publicists should do in the eventuality that details of Pottermore leaked out ahead of time”.

It also contained details of the launch, which is reportedly related to a treasure hunt linking to an online game.

A spokesperson for StonehillSalt told The Independent that the leak was a “genuine mistake”. Today’s report said

The PR company later claimed the story running was out of date, and today’s announcement “would not relate to a treasure hunt” and said it was taking steps to get media outlets to retract their stories.

Though, at the time of going to press, this still not happened, adding further to the widespread confusion surrounding the occasion.

The document, which was dated October 2010, said

We love the idea of a Daily Prophet wrap and would be happy to broker that deal with the paper of our choice, both in the UK and the US.
It’s such a fantastic story that we feel it should not be paid for but placed as unpaid editorial.

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