How The Harry Potter Inspired Jelly Beans Became A Lesson In Success

Harry Potter has taught us many lessons — and not just magical ones. The story includes guidance on friendship, how to face our fears, that it is OK to ask for help, and more. The journey of the books being written (and made into movies) taught us about patience, inspiration, overcoming your past, and community. It is hard not to find lessons you can use in your life.

One of my favorite lessons learned was how to turn a current disappointment into a future success.

It Started Off As A Humble Idea….

In the late 1990s, Jelly Belly, a manufacturer of jelly beans, was experimenting with new flavors. Their R&D Manager, Ambrose Lee, was trying to make a pizza-flavored jelly bean.

“Attempt after attempt was rejected by our taste testers because the cheese flavor of the pizza was not palatable.” — Jana Sanders Perry from Mental Floss

It was a bit of a disappointment. A flavor like that could have opened up new markets for chains like Pizza Hut. This failure, however, was not tossed away or dismissed with no future thought. Instead, they shelved the idea.

What Possible Use Can A Terrible Tasting Jelly Bean Have?

In 2000, Warner Brothers began movie production on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Within this fictional world, there is a candy called “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.” These include the usual flavors and even some unusual ones, like: Spinach, Liver and Earwax.

The WB marketing team decided to create this magical candy in the real world. They reached out to Jelly Belly, who was happy to step up to the task. A team member pulled the failed pizza flavor off the shelf.

‘We made a few adjustments and the rest is history.” — Jana Sanders Perry

What was once the flavor of cheese pizza was now re-named “vomit” and included in the final product.

Eight years after they introduced “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans” to the world, Jelly Belly created their own line of unusual flavors called “BeanBoozled.” There is even a board game that challenges players to try unknown flavors like a less dangerous, more sugary version of Russian Roulette.

One Taster’s Rejection Is Another Man’s Movie-Inspired Candy

Much like Professor McGonagall, failure can be a great teacher. Whether it is on a small or large scale, taking chances and trying new things is worth doing. You learn what works, what doesn’t, and what can be applied to future endeavors. Don’t let it stop you; don’t throw out the past. You never know when it can be repurposed for a future success.

And the next time you have a vomit-flavored Bertie Bott bean, or a barf-flavored BeanBoozled bean, try to have your brain convince your taste buds that it is really cheese pizza.

Call to Action

Leave a Reply