As a Chicago girl and film nerd, I’ve been lucky enough to see preview screenings of upcoming films in the windy city. Every so often, the studios provide promotional products to help make their film more memorable. Some items are traditional – posters, t-shirts – but others are a little more creative.
The Crazies is the Breck Eisner-directed remake of the 1973 horror classic about citizens in a small Iowa town that become insane and murderous when they’re exposed to a toxin in the water supply. It’s a remake in a season where remakes – though pervasive – are becoming less critically fashionable. The studio execs (more likely the overworked interns) gave away cool swag including an unbelievably creepy poster and water bottles.
Yes, every water bottle had an Ogden Marsh label, the tiny fictional town where the film takes place. As you’re watching a movie where the townies become crazy (crazier than Midwest townies already are) from drinking the water, do you really want to be sipping out of a bottle that’s sure to spell your doom? If you’re a horror fan and love creative marketing, the answer is an unqualified YES.
I’ve blogged before about how effective “in-world” marketing campaigns can be for promoting entertainment products such as television shows like Chuck. The Ogden Marsh water bottle is the perfect product: appealing to a wide demographic (Water bottles fall under the “universal appeal” heading for all age groups and cultures), affordable, and memorable. Our very own custom Twist Cap Water Bottle must have appealed to a marketing executive somewhere!
A personalized t-shirt, our very favorite promotional product (after custom stress balls, of course), is another frequent choice for promoting films at preview screenings. Not only are t-shirts an affordable mobile billboard, but the item will be attached to a person who’s already seen and loved your product. That’s a walking AND talking advertisement that only costs a few bucks! The advantage to handing these shirts out at preview screenings is that the wearer has many opportunities to start conversations about the movie before it’s even out, building anticipation for the big release day.
The first shirt I received was for The Clash of the Titans. This shirt goes the more traditional route of simply putting the movie’s title across the front. Big and straightforward – that’s definitely a strong marketing choice. However, simply branding the shirt with the movie title may make the person feel a little bit whored out, especially if they’re not so crazy about the movie. Although my own shirt is in the wash, I found the same shirt for sale on eBay, which is pictured below. My only complaint for this particular shirt is that the material used is a little thin. However, the t-shirt I received as a baby doll fit, which is always a pleasant surprise when you’re a female receiving promotional shirts.
The second was for Going the Distance, an absolutely hilarious “romantic comedy” (I use that term loosely, because I don’t want you to associate it with dreck like Leap Year or Knight and Day) coming out at the end of August. The movie is wicked funny and – while somewhat formulaic – still has memorable characters and doesn’t quite follow the exact path of most romcoms. Anyway, enough fawning over the movie (okay, one more thing: you get to see Justin Long’s bare ass twice, okay, that’s it, promise, but seriously, go see this movie, it’s fantastic): the shirts were awesome as well. As you can see, the symbols on the front are recognizable and give the person checking it out an immediate sense of traveling: a good idea when you’re advertising a film about a long-distance relationship. There’s also the text in between that indicates the shirt is advertising a film (a comedy) and includes the tagline (meeting each other halfway).
The film name and date are on the back, perhaps in print that’s slightly smaller that I personally (in all of my studio executive experience) would have chosen. However, the shirt itself is more attractive with bonus points for the bold color choices for the shirt and imprint.
That’s the crux of a lot of promotional products: how do you get your logo out there without making the recipient just feel like another salesperson? This job is especially difficult when it comes to things like personalized t-shirts where frequency of use hinges on style and less challenging with something like a custom bandage dispenser where utility trumps look.
What do you think, dear readers? How do these promotional items stack up against other things you’ve seen for promoting movies and television shows? Are they items you’d wear dependent on your opinion of the product or are there other factors? Are you going to see Going the Distance for Justin Long’s bare ass or because of my recommendation (or both)? Sound off in the comments below!
Until next time, keep expanding your brand!