Follow ups – Netflix & “Harry Potter Marketing”

Both the above topics, subjects of recent posts, were discussed today in separate articles in the Wall Street Journal.

This article recounts the history of Netflix’s move into on-demand video, with a nice behind-the-scenes view into the thinking of CEO Reed Hastings, and the senior team’s discussions as they pondered trying to make their old business model, delivering DVDs by mail, obsolete. (Here’s our earlier post on the subject.) The story of the development of the device that eventually became Roku is fascinating – demonstrating a collaborative approach and healthy dissent that’s rare in senior teams I’ve known. (In particular, Hastings is candid about his Apple envy–as we learned from “Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You,” being aware of how attachments can affect decisions is crucial for avoiding disasters.)

And this piece discusses the relaunch of the Ford Taurus. This one particular quote caught my eye:

“I think Ford is chasing the original Taurus fans with this car, all of which are much older than when that car was at its peak,” said Karl Brauer, editor in chief at Edmunds.com, an auto-sales Web site. “The new model seems more like a Ford Town Car targeted at 45-plus drivers rather than a high-volume family sedan.”

Does this mean that Ford is engaging in “Harry Potter Marketing” – in which a brand ages with its audience? If so, it provides a stark contrast with its competitor GM, whose attempts to reposition Cadillac triggered this recent post.

I look forward to following the Taurus’ progress in the marketplace – to see if the target group will buy it enough numbers to inspire further attempts at HPM.

Related posts:
Frontiers of innovation: Netflix demolishes own business model
Shop Talk Podcast: Sydney Finkelstein on “Think Again”
Why didn’t GM use “Harry Potter Marketing”?

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