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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"In the coming months Harry's picture is likely to be plastered all over Coke's products"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 09:03 GMT
Coke and Harry Potter join forces
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint
Daniel Radcliffe (centre) with co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Coca-Cola, the world's largest soft drink group, has won the global marketing rights for the first Harry Potter film, at a reported cost of 103m.

The deal includes a pledge to fund community-reading schemes, as requested by Potter author JK Rowling, and is thought to be one of the largest ever marketing link-ups with a film.

Coca Cola
Coca Cola will fund community reading initiatives
Under the terms of the deal the face of the young wizard will not be shown on cans or bottles of Coca-Cola but "Harry Potter-related images" will appear.

Images of Coca-Cola products will not appear in the film.

Rowling is said to be keen not to overly commercialise her world-famous character and asked Warner Brothers and Coke to respect children's imaginations.

'Power and magic'

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone is being filmed at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire and at locations around the UK.

It also stars John Cleese, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Dame Maggie Smith and Zoe Wanamaker and is due to be released on 16 November.

A spokesman for Coca-Cola said: "This is going to be about the Harry Potter ethos as opposed to a buy-one-get-one-free type of thing."

"It was tremendously important that we create a partnership that would have the ability to globally support the power and magic of Harry Potter," Brad Ball, president of domestic marketing at Warner Brothers said.

'One on one'

"The key to our plan will be about relationships, local communities, connecting with people one-on-one and looking at the things we traditionally do in a whole new way," said Tom Long, Coca-Cola's UK division president.

The marketing deal will see Coke ditch traditional marketing strategies for films such as giveaways at fast food outlets.

Filming on the Potter movie has run behind schedule and film bosses have had to ask school authorities for permission to keep Daniel Radcliffe, who will play the young wizard, out of school for longer than was planned.

Radcliffe and his young co-stars Emma Watson, 10, and Rupert Grint, 12, have been receiving lessons from tutors while on set.

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See also:

21 Feb 01 | Business
Coca-Cola and P&G in new venture
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Potter film needs more time
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Wanamaker: Keeping it in the family
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