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Consumers Hunger for Tinseltown Tie-Ins
By: Rosann Fisher
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The practice of product placement in Hollywood has been around since the inception of motion pictures. Long the stopping ground for automobiles, beverages, and household products, there are some new players cropping up to capitalize on the “life imitating art” phenomenon — clothing and beauty brands. According to Monica Corcoran of the New York Times, this past weekend was no exception as the record-breaking movie The Hunger Games opened in theaters. Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, partnered with nail-polish leader China Glaze to “introduce the Capitol Colours line.”

The collection features 12 shades, inspired by the outlandish attire of the Capitol citizens and potentially representative of the 12 districts outside the Capitol detailed in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, which was the basis for the movie. At $7 a pop, purchasing China Glaze nail polish is an easy way for the “rabid young girl fan base to relate to our movie on a personal level” says Tim Palen, the studio’s chief marketing officer who was quoted in the article.

Although they may not be paying for product placements specifically, the idea of creating personal connections to movie and television characters is something that other clothing and beauty brands are also embracing. For instance, Banana Republic recently launched the second installment of its “Mad Men” collection as a prelude to the much-anticipated fifth season. The 2012 collection, also created under the careful eye of the show’s costume designer, Janie Bryant, features over 40 pieces of apparel and jewelry for both women and men. Two of the signature items are a pink Betty dress and a fitted floral sheath named after the always polished Betty Draper and sultry Joan Harris, respectively. Both items retail for $150 and echo the 1960s style of the hit AMC show’s characters in a chic and modern way. Interesting enough, Mad Men is also owned by Lionsgate.

Premium cable channels like HBO® are also looking for ways to help their viewers relate and embody the characters portrayed in their shows. Last year, natural makeup enthusiasts were challenged to “Get Glamored” with Tarte for True Blood™, a limited-edition line inspired by the hit series that launched in accompaniment with the True Blood season premiere. The Tarte team worked with True Blood makeup department head Brigette Myre-Ellis to create a line collection of products (a makeup palette, check stain and lip tint) in sexy, edgy, Bon Temps appropriate shades (i.e., blood red).

As consumer’s lives become more integrated it only seems reasonable that there would be avid interest in engaging with movie and television shows and characters with a cult following in a more experiential way. And, in a cluttered environment full of choices, creating branded experiences helps marketers to reach consumers on a deeper, personal level without them having to wear an “I love MadMen” sticker (although those exist, too). For once, consumers get to “be the brand”…or character. 

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About the Author
Rosann Fisher is an Integrated Marketing Manager. She enjoys running and doodling (when appropriate). Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter@rosann.
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