6 Movie Marketing Tie-Ins That Hilariously Missed The Point
The entire Hollywood economy depends on you wanting to buy a bunch of bullshit bearing the logo of the last movie you liked. Does it matter if that merchandise has nothing to do with the movie, or even openly mocks all that the characters believed in? Let's put it this way: Asking such a question will get a studio executive killed.
Makeup Companies Sell The Fashion Of The Murderous Capitol In The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games series is about a dystopian future in which America's one percent live in luxury in "The Capitol," and host an annual reality TV show in which children from the subservient Districts are selected to fight each other to the death, for reasons that are never satisfactorily explained.
The bloodthirsty elite citizens of The Capitol were notable for the gaudy and ridiculous fashions they sported. CoverGirl liked these looks so much that they released a tie-in makeup range celebrating the unique style of those casually murderous sociopaths.
Please note that the heroes of the story, led by Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss, are simple farming folk who dress in outfits cobbled together from animal skins and potato sacks. It's only the entitled, narcissistic villains who paint themselves up like Cirque de Soleil performers, right before tuning in to an annual child murder spree for entertainment.
It's one thing to dress up like a movie villain because you think they're badass -- many of us spent at least one Halloween dressed up like Heath Ledger's Joker. But The Hunger Games painted the villains' faces like this to make them look fucking stupid, in contrast with the salt-of-the-Earth heroes. So this would be like dressing up as, say, Jared Leto's Joker on Halloween, and then leaving the costume on the rest of the year.
Companies Set Merchandising Records With Eat Pray Love, A Film About Rejecting Materialism
Eat Pray Love is a movie based on the true story of a woman (played by Julia Roberts, though not actually Julia Roberts in real life) who decides that her humdrum middle-class lifestyle isn't satisfying her. She travels the world, finding true happiness in exotic food, spirituality, and James Franco and Javier Bardem, though not at the same time, sadly.
One of the key themes of the movie is the outright rejection of Western materialism, exemplified in a scene in which Roberts' character emails her friends and tells them not to get her anything for her birthday. Instead, she wants them to donate money to a friend she met on her travels, a poor Indonesian woman left destitute after her divorce. For you see, true happiness comes not from hoarding useless possessions, but from the simple pleasure you get from helping out the disadvantaged. Fans of the film celebrated its anti-materialism message by buying lots and lots and lots of Eat Pray Stuff.
Through tote bags, fashion lines, tour packages, restaurant tie-ins, embroidered pillows, jewelry, gelato machines, goddamn lip gloss, and more, any and every company that could fudge even a tangential reference to Eat Pray Love wound up hocking tie-in merchandise for massive sales. The Home Shopping Network ran a straight 72 hours of promotions for such products. According to marketers, Eat Pray Love made history with the success of its merchandising bonanza. Holy shit, did anyone stay awake during the movie?
The irony is apparently lost even on Elizabeth Gilbert, the woman who wrote the original book based on her real experiences. According to her, "It's weird for me to go into Starbucks and see the Eat Pray Love soundtrack for sale ... Most people don't have the resources to be able to go travel around the world for an entire year. Maybe buying a candle that reminds you of that story is as close as they can get to that."
Oh. So maybe the producers of Eat Pray Love understood its message better than the author. You can cast aside material possessions and travel around the world on a journey of personal discovery only if you have already benefited from the equivalent of several lifetimes' worth of materialism. So go ahead and buy that Eat Pray Candle, we guess.
The Home Shopping Network Capitalizes On Racism With '60s Chic The Help Merchandise
The Help is a movie that explores racism and segregation in 1960s Mississippi through the story of a heroic white person who instructs a group of black women on civil rights and achieving their full potential. Its mishandling of history and slight tone-deafness aside, viewers were still supposed to walk away from the theater with a moderately better understanding of the conditions African-Americans have had to endure in this country. However, the only lesson the Home Shopping Network came away with was "All those white people had amazing stuff that today's consumers would surely like to own."
Thus, to coincide with the release of The Help, HSN launched a tie-in website hocking high-end '60s chic products to fans of the film, so that they too could feel like a segregationist white socialite from the swingin' Jim Crow era. There's even a floral summer dress inspired by Hilly Holbrook, the movie's deeply racist antagonist, in case you want to attend a summer mixer dressed as her. That's like selling Matt Damon's outfit from School Ties, or a stick-on goatee inspired by Edward Norton in American History X.
Speaking of Hilly Holbrook, there is a scene in The Help in which Hilly is fed a chocolate pie containing whipped human shit. So naturally, the HSN site offers a chocolate cake inspired by the film. Marketing movie-based food items is a dangerous game. Sure, Ecto Cooler is delightful and fun, but Sweeney Todd breakfast sausages probably wouldn't be met with the same enthusiasm. We're willing to bet that few fans of The Help watched the shit pie scene and couldn't wait for the movie to end so they could go buy a chocolate dessert.
Japanese-Inspired Fashion Designs Were Modeled On Memoirs Of A Geisha, A Movie About Child Sex Slavery
Memoirs Of A Geisha is about a nine-year-old Japanese girl who is sold into servitude and forced to become a geisha, which, while not a prostitute per se, is at the very least something akin to a high-end escort. Among the indignities the girl is made to endure include having her virginity verified by a physical examination, and later having said virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Naturally, American fashion houses saw this movie, or at least fast-forwarded through most of it, and came away with a single profound impression: how fabulously sexy those not-slave-because-we-don't-call-them-that ladies were dressed.
Companies such as Banana Republic and Bath & Body Works boldly combined cultural appropriation with the sex trade aesthetic to produce a line of kimono-inspired dresses modeled exclusively by white women, because clearly the most important part of the film is how much it makes us want to play dress-up while ignoring any ugly historical implications.
One accessories manufacturer, Icon, released purses with scenes from the film printed on them, which is less than a full step up from Memoirs Of A Geisha lunchboxes. There was also Fresh, which released cosmetic products associated with the film, including sake-infused bath oils designed to "draw out the grace, serenity and inner beauty of any woman." So you can light some candles, bathe in geisha oils, and forget about your troubles in a way that the women in this film were unable to do for the majority of their lives.
Prometheus Joins Forces With Coors Light
Prometheus, 2012's Alien prequel, was about mankind's search for our creators and why we should never let androids mix our drinks. Speaking of drinks, at some point, somebody decided that the perfect sponsor for an R-rated summer blockbuster that explored existential questions at the heart of the human condition should be Coors Light. One might argue that nobody understands the human condition better than the alcohol industry, but you'd hope they would've selected a better emissary than the liquid responsible for so many suspended commercial truck licenses.
Beyond the obvious weirdness of a major beer brand doing a marketing tie-in with any movie outside of the Transformers franchise, Coors Light doesn't appear anywhere in the film. Indeed, the characters of Prometheus exclusively drink liquor, and as we mentioned, one of them is ruthlessly poisoned via an alien virus dropped in his booze. So not only is beer never consumed in Prometheus, but a character's horrific demise is caused by drinking alcohol.
Also, Prometheus is about scientific pioneering and the journey of discovery. Nobody in human history has ever considered Coors to be anywhere near the forefront of innovation. The only reason anyone ever drinks a Coors Light is because they want to wash the taste of tobacco out of their mouth and everything else in the fridge is expired. Nevertheless, Coors released a commercial to coincide with the release of the film, as well as a special edition futuristic can shape.
According to the ad, "we thirst for knowledge, we thirst for answers, we thirst for power, but above all, we simply thirst." And how better to quench that thirst for discovery than with a bottom-of-the-range light beer that requires you to consume a clinically unsafe amount in order to be drunk enough to enjoy Prometheus?
Disney's Skin-Of-Another-Race Moana Halloween Costume
Despite Disney's spotty history of racism and sexism in their films, in recent years, they've really made some attempts at progress. From The Princess And The Frog to Big Hero 6 to Zootopia, Disney seems dedicated to making up for past transgressions, such as the Siamese cats in Lady And The Tramp and those fucking crows in Dumbo.
Disney was set to continue its streak of diverse animated entertainment with Moana, a story based on Polynesian mythology featuring a cast almost exclusively made up of Pacific Islanders. Everything about the film was well-received -- that is, until Disney released a tie-in Halloween costume that wouldn't be terribly out of place at a minstrel show and/or a serial killer's trophy room:
Yes, in order to let kids don the tribal tattoos of The Rock's character, Maui, they went ahead and created a costume that lets them wear his goddamned brown skin. And while this isn't exactly the same thing as caking your child's face in shoe polish and dressing him up like Chris Tucker's character from Friday, it definitely is weirder.
Maybe just sell the necklace and the grass skirt? Although a bunch of kids running around in October weather wearing nothing but thigh-high grass skirts raises at least two other major issues.
Think Nana and Pop-Pop's loving 60-year monogamous relationship is quaint and old-fashioned? First off, sorry for that disturbing image, but we've got some news for you: the monogamous sexual relationship is actually brand new relative to how long humans have been around. Secondly, it's about to get worse from here: monkey sex. On this month's live podcast, Jack O'Brien and Cracked staffers Michael Swaim and Teresa Lee welcome Dr. Christopher Ryan, podcaster and author of 'Sex at Dawn,' onto the show for a lively Valentine's Day discussion about love, sex, why our genitals are where they are, and why we're more like chimps and bonobos than you think. Get your tickets here!
For more ways Hollywood knows how suck the soul from a movie, check out 4 Famous Movies With Insane Music Video Tie-Ins and 7 Times Movie Product Placement Backfired Hilariously.
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