We have already looked at how Lionsgate studio marketedThe Hunger Games, an $80 million film which reaped an opening weekend box office of $155 million.
Now, a look at how brands are using The Hunger Games to sell themselves. Call it The Hunger Games Brand Extension Games.
The Hunger Games itself takes place in a world full of wild technology and modern amenities, yet barren of branding. Even so, a few wags put together what the film might have looked like had it courted more product placement.
Offscreen, every retailer wants a piece of the cornucopia of Hunger Games merchandise. Walk into any Hot Topic store in any mall in America and you will be plied with Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss keepsakes. Hot Topic is even selling a bow and arrow, the "exact replica of the one used by Katniss Everdeen to collect food for her family in The Hunger Games." Sorry, it's already sold out.
Speaking of bows, it would seem the archery business is seeing a bit of a boom thanks to The Hunger Games focus on the bow. The Los Angeles Times reports that "Sales of archery equipment have increased more than 20% in the last year," also spurred by upcoming blockbusters Brave (by Pixar) and The Avengers , both of which feature "main characters who are archers."
While The Hunger Games is often cited as a welcome salve for those with Twilight burnout, the film's merchandising is a sequel to the teen vamps and werewolves franchise. Just as Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 used Cafe Press to create an official customization store, in essence turning its merchandising operations over to its fans, so is The Hunger Games.
Like Twilight before it, the Hunger Games official Cafe Press store is full of standard fare appealing to teens: book bags, sweatshirts and underwear(?) But it is also offers a trove of personalize-able and customizable items. As we noted of Twilight's use of Cafe Press: "The idea is that instead of guessing what consumers want, fans are allowed to make Twilight merchandise available for sale. Of course, the idea is that the fans themselves, and their handful of friends, will buy the items."
Additional conventional tie-in products can be found at numerous other stores. Amazon offers the official replica Katniss jacket: Just $149.99. And The Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen Barbie doll? On its way. For purists, the mockingjay pin sported by Hunger Games hero Katniss was designed by Ohio designer Dana Schneider.
Scholastic, The Hunger Games U.S. book publisher, hosted a Hunger Games party for the (mostly) teen fans who arrived dressed as "Tributes" — the children picked to fight each other to the death in the title's competition — at its flagship store in New York's Soho on Saturday. In addition to free cake and face-painting of mockingjay tattoos for fans of all ages, there was (mock) archery training, costumed hosts and heaps of books and merchandise.
Those looking for less conventional Hunger Games merchandise and tie-ins would be well served to start at Capitolcouture.pn, a promotional website from Lionsgate Studio. The Tumblr site bills itself: "Whether you're a Capitol fashionista seeking inspiration for your latest look or a District citizen tracking rumors about the Tributes and other celebs, Capitol Couture is the only place to turn for pictures and news reports on the fashion, trends and lifestyle that make Capitol living so grand."
Looking to pass on Capitol style and live in more, say, District 12 style? For you, there is the Hunger Games "Snuggie."
Meanwhile, services are also "Capitol-izing" on Hunger Games mania. New York Sports Club has designed a "Hunger Games Workout" with a "Train Like a Tribute" fitness regime. "The tribute who does the most circuits in the class’ allotted time wins and is given a mockingjay pin like the one Katniss wears." Joining the class? We recommend Amazon's "District 12 Hunger Games Movie Prop Replica Training Shirt."
The Hunger Games product frenzy has not passed with a few pot shots at the franchise, including this from College Humor:
For all the products in a decade of hit films, visit the Brandcameo product placement database.