Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Many Methods of Movie Marketing: Part 3 Merchandise

This is the third part of my many posts on the different methods of movie marketing, this one covering merchandise. This is mainly for my film students who are looking at the relationship between film producers and audiences. First we looked at how producers get information from audiences and now we move on to how producers give information to audiences. You can find part one on posters and trailers here. Part 2 on TV, radio and print media advertising and using the internet and viral marketing is here.

Merchandising is another useful way to market a movie and has become increasingly important since the days of films like Star Wars and Jaws. Not only can merchandise help to spread the word about a movie, but it also can make the studio a lot of money. The audience are basically paying to help market the movie. Merchandising means putting an image or logo from the film on a range of products and selling them to the public. Merchandise can range from t-shirts, toys, lunchboxes and duvet covers to collectible items such as replica weapons and props from films. 

Blockbusters and high concept films that can be sold on the strength of a single image can be particularly beneficial for selling merchandise as the image or logo is easy to recognise and gives the film brand recognition. Spiderman, Batman, Jurassic Park and Jaws all have distinctive, easy to reproduce and recognisable logos or posters which can be put on any products the studio wishes to sell. Transformers was a toy range before becoming a film but now with the film versions begin released, Hasbro can make more toys that tie in with the films. George Lucas, the writer and director of Star Wars kept ownership of the licensing and merchandising rights  (which the studio did not realise could be so profitable) and made a fortune from selling Star Wars toys, collectibles and games based on the franchise.

Merchandise is often, but not always, aimed at children so family movies can often have a larger and more successful range. Disney, Pixar and Marvel will make huge amounts of money from selling toys of the characters and a huge range of products with images from the films on them. The idea is that once a child sees the movie, they will want a souvenir and then fortunately for the studio, that piece of merchandise will advertise the film to more children.

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