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Harry Potter and the World of Merchandising

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Can you ever have enough Harry Potter? The masterminds behind the franchise obviously don’t think so. The thousands of pages that comprise the books are looking more like a gateway drug every day. Once the taste is acquired, watching the movies is just a more efficient way to get the same fix. The card, board and video games help while away the time until the next major release. From there, a T-shirt, posters and the candy follow naturally. After that, the addiction starts to spiral out of control; before you know it, you’re a Potterhead.

The hardcore users face a world of temptation. They can enjoy dreams of magic and wonder while snuggled safely under Potter-branded bedding. They can represent their favorite house at Hogwarts with a tie on work days, or insulate with a house scarf on cold days. Collectible action figures, Lego castles, jigsaw puzzles and Voldemort knows what else is available. All the obsessive Potterhead lacks is a holy site, a place to fill the role in their lives that Amsterdam fills in the lives of stoners. And soon, they will have it.

Universal Orlando Resort is making the dream real in 2009, when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens. It couldn’t come at a better time, since by 2009 the last book will be old news and the final movie installment should be hitting second-run theaters. Rather than face the ugly withdrawal pangs, addicts and casual users alike will be able to immerse themselves in a world of Potter-philia. And it goes without saying that along with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wander through the enchanted lands of Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest and other iconic locations rendered lovingly in plastic and steel, interacting with irritable actors portraying reasonable facsimiles of favorite characters, they’ll be able to fill bag after bag with crappy, but officially licensed, Potter merchandise to feed the monkey once it’s time to go home.

The world of merchandising is a truly magical place. -- Cory Casciato

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