Get your TMN Headlines Mondays–Saturdays.

Subscribe to get your TMN Headlines Mondays through Saturdays. Sign up for our daily dozen-plus links!

Behind the Scenes

The Harry Potter Nimbus 2000

The hottest new toy is the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000, a vibrating broom proving popular with lots of little girls. An inside look at its insidious development.

For complete product description, including extremely relevant product reviews, please consult the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 product details page.

Head of Mattel Character Brand Development Shari Cloer: Folks, we’ve been handed a golden franchise on a silver platter. A gold platter, I mean. By a butler with a golden arm and like gold teeth. OK? And the only thing worse than not having a golden franchise is having a golden franchise and blowing it. You’ll note this week I’m speaking in a calm, even tone of voice, not using swears or resorting to immature name-calling.

Mattel Product Designer [Boys, Entertainment, Games & Puzzles] Jennifer Koo: Kudos to Demerol.

Cloer: So I’m thinking the best way to thank me for this serene approach is by delivering some new Harry Potter product ideas that won’t blind me with rage.

Mattel Ass’t Product Designer [Girls 8-12] Davis Sinagra: Boss, we got scads.

Cloer: I am going to mentally count backward from ten and then will force a pleasant smile to my face and listen.

Koo: Check it, boss. Sorting Hat Waffle Cones, with a sound chip embedded in the bottom so it’ll talk to the kid while he’s fucking eating it.

Harry Potter Author J. K. Rowling: [unintelligible]

Personal Assistant to J. K. Rowling Michael Spiegel: She says thumbs down and asks if the ball gag is 100 percent necessary.

Cloer: You tell her for me she’s lucky to even be in this room after being pretty much nonstop high-maintenance and hands-on and all-around in-everyone’s-face.

Sinagra: We were thinking we could re-brand some old-school big sellers. Maybe remodel an Etch-a-Sketch into the Harry Potter Magical Drawing Whatever.

Koo: Or Harry Potter Magic Putty. Make it green or—what’s the color of magic?

Sinagra: Sort of a hot purple.

Koo: Yeah like Hot Purple Magical Silly Putty.

Sinagra: Put ‘extreme’ in the title and you’re hitting both genders without breaking a sweat.

Cloer: About three pills ago I would’ve been weeping and shrieking right here in front of everybody. What about refinements to last week’s ideas?

Koo: Oh we totally beefed up the broom.

Sinagra: The broom is tricked out.

Cloer: Good, because I’m not going to sit down with Mitch and say, ‘Here, it’s a broom. We’re going to sell these little bastards a broom, eerily similar to the one currently sitting in their pantry.’

Koo: Oh no way, boss, this broom is supersaturated with value-adds.

Sinagra: Feast your eyes on the prototype.

Koo: The stick is grooved for easy riding.

Sinagra: One size fits all.

Koo: But toss in three AA batteries—

Sinagra: Included!

Koo: …and the magic really begins.

Cloer: OK but—wait, what are those god-awful sounds? Is the broom doing that?

Sinagra: That’s the whooshing.

Koo: You fire this thing up, climb aboard, run around, and it provides the whooshing sound for you, italics mine.

Sinagra: The kid is transported right into the world of the movie, as if by Satanic magic.

Rowling: [unintelligible]

Spiegel: She says it’s a book, not a movie.

Cloer: But what’s that buzzing? Is that the whooshing?

Koo: Maybe it’s the swooping you’re hearing?

Cloer: I hear buzzing. Are we going to have problems getting approval on this thing? Is it a fire hazard?

Sinagra: I think that’s from the vibrations. We’ll need to modify the casing to keep that noise to a minimum.

Cloer: Vibrations?

Koo: Oh yeah, this little puppy vibrates, too. Like in the movie—

Rowling: [unintelligible]

Koo: …where it shimmies around and then pops right into the kid’s hand.

Cloer: Let me give it a test-run.

Sinagra: Do it.

Cloer: Here. Let’s see … how do I ride it when I’m wearing a skirt?

Koo: You could go side-saddle.

Sinagra: Or, hell, just hike up your skirt and wrap your legs around it. We’re all friends here.

Rowling: [unintelligible]

Koo: Run around a little to get the full experience.

Cloer: This is just not going to…Hang on. Whoa.

Koo: She’s feeling the magic.

Cloer: Ah.

Sinagra: Nice, huh? I feel like I’m sitting here watching an actual real-life game of Flying Broomball or whatever the hell it’s called.

Cloer: Oh yeah.

Koo: It’s a simple device, really, boss. Should be pretty cheap to manufacture. But think of the pleasure it’ll bring millions of kids.

Cloer: I’m … yeah. Yes.

Sinagra: Me, personally, I can’t wait to see all those rosy cheeks come Christmastime. It’s what this job is all about.

Cloer: Oh god. Oh my god.

Koo: Davey, I think we got a winner.

Cloer: Oh my—

Sinagra: I shall high-five you momentarily.


Koo: This is going to be big.

Cloer: Mmm. Hm.

Sinagra: I’ll forward the designs to the boys in Production.

Cloer: Ahh.

Koo: We can have it on the shelves in six months, boss.

Cloer: Do it. I’ll hang on to this prototype for further testing.

Rowling: [unintelligible]

Spiegel: She says she wants one, too.

Koo: It’s your close involvement in all aspects of promotions that makes you a personal hero to me, Ms. Rowling.

Sinagra: High five.


TMN Contributing Writer Joshua Allen is a complex and exciting young man. He is a hard worker and always gives 110 percent. He is a people-person unless that person is a crab and not pulling their weight for the team. If enthusiasm and get-up-and-go are drugs, then he’s a hardcore drug addict. He’s pretty obviously an only child. He lives in Fireland, USA. More by Joshua Allen