Today, we’re going to be positive and grateful. For what, you ask?
Though we’re still confused about why the Katniss ad for Always exists, today we will show our thanks that some other character-specific ad campaigns DON’T exist, even though they’re surprisingly more relevant to the story than tampons.
At least we’ve not yet seen…
Peeta’s Pastries - Not the fresh yum yum shop pastries at Comic-Con (even though they totally stole the Effie cupcakes design). We’re talkin’ prepackaged, dry cakes with a frosting filler served en masse! All covered in icing Mockingjays, arrows, arena obstacles, and more! Just like out of Mellark bakery (except with more sugar and artificial preservatives!)
Haymitch’s Liquor - Though we would most definitely name a little homebrew project after Haymitch, could you imagine an actual liquor brand releasing commercials with Katniss’ mentor drunkenly attesting to its level of awesome? Or creating unique labeling with Hunger Games fans in mind using Haymitch? Spit take worthy, possibly hilarious, yet sadly 100% inappropriate. But most fans are old enough to drink anyway, so why not?!
Gale’s Hunting Bows - What product does The Hunger Games show off more than anything? WEAPONS. So why not sell some badass hunting gear?! Promoted by a male character, of course, so that men don’t have to feel shame and outrage because a woman like Katniss can handle a weapon just as well as them!
Johanna’s Body Lotion - If you’re often naked or scantily clad in low cut outfits, you NEED a moisturizer that leaves your skin looking beautiful! Johanna knows the secret to soft, supple skin, even on a recently shaved head!
Finnick’s Manscaping Products - Hair gel, chest wax, self tanner, and more! Finicky probably uses it all. Now he can share his methods with the modern male population so they can ALL be studly! Or maybe just throw him into an Axe body spray campaign, because anyone who looks that good MUST smell good, despite the sweat from continuous workouts!
Aren’t you glad these things DON’T exist? Don’t you feel better?
This doesn’t make every product partnership that’s been associated with the film good (most aren’t), but sometimes we gotta be happy that there’s only one product tie-in tweet we’d categorize as utterly ridiculous.
Of course, we also want to show that specific character tie-ins are tough to pull off for this franchise. The only one we could see so far is Samsung possibly using Beetee to tie in with their technologies, but that hasn’t happened yet. Advertising can be fun, but we just gotta make sure everyone knows THERE’S A LINE!
If You Want To Sell Brands, Maybe Start With A Story That Isn’t About Poverty?
The Girl With The Pearl
San Diego Comic Con 2014 is in full swing, and the Internet is a buzz with all things Benedict Cumberbatch, Marvel, Hobbit-y, Game of Thrones-y and oh yeah– Lionsgate-y. I’m one of the sad few who is not attending the convention, and frankly will probably never attend, because crowds of that magnitude give me the heebie-jeebies, and trust me when I say this– you don’t want to be around me when I have the heebie-jeebies. Anywho, Comic-Con is a place of fandom-wide fun and excitement, and just all out nerd-gasmic heaven.
Y’all like cupcakes, right? I betcha do! Why not, they’re delicious, and fluffy, and if they’re made right they are moist (not in the naughty way), and light, and put a smile on your face with their fondant, and they’re butter cream goodness. Lionsgate apparently likes cupcakes too, or baked goods if we’re speaking in broad terms. I know this because this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, part of the fun and festivities are baked goods, including cupcakes. That’s right folks, they have a sleek-looking, Capitol-esque bakery set up on display for the burgeoning public to ooh and ah over. This is awesome for all intents and purposes, ’cause everyone and their glutton tolerant aunt likes some free baked goods every now and again. The only fly in the ointment of this sweet, little gesture is the slightly glaring fact that who ever, or whatever marketing firm chose the designs for some of these goods, well– stole them.
That’s right folks, I just used the S word, and it’s not the shit kind. Nope, I call foul on who ever, or whatever person, or group of people who decided stealing other people’s ideas is an acceptable business practice!
Crystal Watanabe has been a staple in this fandom for years, she’s involved more than a random fan as well– and on top of that she’s got more than a life outside of her endeavors involving The Hunger Games. Crystal used to pretty much run Mockingjay.net, now she’s the founder, and head at Jabberjays.net. Crystal is a master at bento, as well as artisan baking. Which brings me to the previously used S word. Crystal’s designs for two Effie Trinket themed cupcakes are being used without her permission right now at one of the biggest entertainment themed conventions in the world, and all of this is going down without what’s probably most important– credit where credit is due.
I’m just going to say it, but this is not cool! I know that the big guys on top of the money-making machines that supposedly dictate our lives, wholly believe that taking a “little persons” ideas and shilling them as their own, is acceptable. But damn it all to hell– it’s not! I know they’re just cupcakes, but even cupcake designs are things that deserve to be credited to the originator, the designer– who in this case is Crystal Watanabe.
So Hunger Games fandom, if you think it’s cool to steal other people’s ideas– by all means eat up. But if you don’t– say something, that’s what the Internet is for– other than porn of course. This credit issue could be easily remedied with a simple piece of card stock going up on display in that bakery set up. Simple, concise and easy, because this is potential revenue lost to an artist.
Effie Trinket cupcakes designed by Crystal Watanabe of Fictionalfood.net.
Them There Eyes
Yesterday at Comic Con, I was following the tweets coming out of the Community panel. Community is a smart, irreverent tv comedy set at a community college (with very questionable academic credentials). The clever writing and pop culture in-jokes meant it attracted only a niche audience. It’s never had high ratings, but has a very engaged, social-media savvy viewership. With low ratings, every season the show has been threatened with cancellation. And this year, it actually was cancelled by NBC, only to be later (and kind of miraculously) picked up for another season by Yahoo Screen.
To help keep the show running for five seasons despite the low ratings, the show engaged in some very overt product placement with Subway. Subway featured heavily in an episode in Season Three where the story had A MAN AGREEING TO LEGALLY CHANGE HIS NAME TO SUBWAY to “collectively show the humanity of business owners” and win over the public. It was a hilarious episode, that made fun of corporate sponsorship and big companies hurting the little guy while itself being hugely overt product placement. The humor was still very much in line with what Community was known for, so it was a great fit. In season five, Subway again featured in the story (as the villain) as they buy the college in an attempt to turn it into a “Sandwich University.”
Now, fans could have been unhappy about Community “selling out” but they actually embraced this move and actively supported the business. Subway has done a lot of placements with television shows, and they’ve been really smart about it. With Community, Subway entered into the agreement understanding the show, who the fans were, and were happy to play along and be in on the joke. And because Community was struggling with lower ratings, the fans appreciated the advertising support from the company to keep the show on the air.
As Hunger Games fans, we’re familiar with Subway’s partnership last year during Catching Fire. Tying in a restaurant chain with the Hunger Games is a tough fit, but awkward as it was, I gave it a pass. Yes, it was silly to see commercials with Katniss & Peeta on the flaming chariot with Subway talking about fiery sriracha sandwiches, but they did at least try to tie in some charitable efforts to help with hunger. That helped. It was still odd, but I understand the modern movie marketing need to have some of these type of deals. If you wanted to go to Subway, see the Katniss standee and ask for a Peeta cup, you could.
Now we move on to the first major “partnership” for Mockingjay Part 1 with Samsung. A week ago, it was announced that Samsung would be launching an app on their most expensive phones and tablets with exclusive Mockingjay content. Which is lame if you don’t have the most expensive Samsung phones and tablets, but that part, again, didn’t get me too heated because once the app is in the hands of millions of people, everything will end up on the internet about a minute after they are released. Have your silly exclusive on a couple stills for that one minute, Samsung. You’re creating a block in distribution, but fans can subvert that easily enough.
What fans really do care about are the big, meaty, content releases, like trailer releases. So the offensive aspect of this partnership was how it affected the long awaited trailer release. We all pretty much assumed the trailer would release at Comic Con, though we were hoping it would be a repeat of last year. With a fabulous Hall H panel and the debuting of the trailer on a huge screen for maximum impact. Seems Hall H was not to be this year, so instead Lionsgate chose to sell Samsung the trailer to display on their tablets at either their very Capitol-stylized Hard Rock Hotel near SDCC or over the weekend at their “store within a store” Samsung Galaxy Experience areas at select Best Buys. So for about 3 days, Samsung is holding on to this trailer and keeping it from most fans.
Yes, Samsung decided that with this co-branding they would force people to go and touch/use their products to see the trailer. Samsung could still have gotten advertising exposure for an online trailer debut (and maybe they still will) with a Samsung Galaxy ad before the trailer, or a logo skin around the media player for the release on Lionsgate’s featured online distribution method. They could have done that, and not pissed off the vast majority of fans. Yet, they decided to disrupt the online trailer release and create a whole Capitol-esque privileged class of those with the means to buy into their system and see it early versus those in the Districts who either don’t have one of those fancy Best Buys near them in America or the rest of the world. Or they could be like me and just really not want to experience the trailer release on a tablet with some Samsung/Best Buy employee breathing over their shoulder. That is not the “Samsung Experience” I want.
The huge box office for the Hunger Games films proves that the movies don’t need these sponsorship deals to be financially viable. This fact also explains the fan anger towards Samsung, while Community fans embraced Subway. Subway’s support of Community helped fans keep the show they loved on air and alternatively Samsung has CREATED A BARRIER to the thing we love. And I don’t care how cute you think Peeta’s bakery looked in those pictures at SDCC. I’m sure you would rather have seen the trailer today.
Unfortunately for us, Lionsgate has now discovered this new way of making even more money out of the Hunger Games franchise, so I fear a repeat of this scenario again. Maybe they’ll go with a different brand next time and have some other hoops you have to jump through for the trailer, but I’m sadly doubting it will be the fan-friendly-online-for-everyone-at-once release next year. The money’s too tempting, and they’re betting fans will forgive yet again.
Other people may be more forgiving than me. The trailer will be online Monday, and maybe its awesomeness will help us forget about the weekend before. For me, I know I won’t be buying anything with Samsung on it for a long time.
Let’s hope the other Mockingjay partnerships can actually enhance the fan experience.
In case you didn’t already know it, we’re gross. So much so that the whole advertising world is busy telling us how gross we are in an effort to help us conceal our unholy level of disgusting, because we should totally be ashamed!
These companies sell us (and in part help create) our insecurities. But don’t worry! Then they empower us! How, you ask? By making us feel insecure about having said insecurities, of course!
Thankfully, The Hunger Games isn’t like that. They may sell clothes, makeup, and nail polish that represent the selfish, ignorant elitists of the tale that should in no way be glorified. They may try to sell us elongated sandwiches full of irony to promote a film about the struggles of the starving and underprivileged. They may soften the collective fan experience by only letting people who possess certain technologies or live near certain stores get exclusive early access. But they would never exploit Katniss’ gender as a means to pander to a false empowerment campa— OH WAIT.
*blink blink* WHAT?
First off, as many fans have discussed several times over on every Hunger Games related form on the Internet– Katniss Everdeen does things LIKE A GUY. One of the most interesting thing about her is that she transcends gender stereotypes by taking on traditionally masculine roles. If anything, Peeta is the one who does things #LikeAGirl.
Don’t get us wrong– we still think Katniss has a hefty dose of femininity and is a great role model. But she can be a great role model for ANYONE, not just girls. If Katniss and Peeta’s genders were reversed, the main character would still be a great role model. To say that her accomplishments matter BECAUSE she is a woman and that she should inspire girls any more than boys is just ludicrous.
Does she get super secret strength just from having her monthly period? Is that what makes her such a great hunter, strategist, and leader? DID WE MISS THAT PART OF THE NOVELS?!
Also, this totally fails to empower us. It has the opposite effect:
- Katniss Everdeen is made of pure awesome. She fights for justice, leads a nation, and creates a new way of life for the entire populace of a struggling society.. and hey, she’s a woman!
- Well, I’m a woman and I do none of those things. Therefore, I SUCK. And don’t dare try to tell me I could sway the nation and lead a bloody human rights revolution right now, because then you’re just lying.
Then Always jumps in to really drive that point home:
We really, really hope this isn’t a long-term, ongoing partnership with this brand. It’s straight up patronizing: “Oh look, she’s a strong, heroic leader AND a woman! Let’s all stop and treat that like an anomaly!”
A major facet in Katniss’ likability factor is that she hates misleading campaigns that paint her as a false hero for the people. In a strange way, that’s what makes her a real hero.
It’s painful to equate that Katniss’ success and power to the fact that she, just like all the other women out there, survives that time of the month. In fact, it gives us cramps. Katniss never seems to get cramps. Dammit, we can’t ever measure up to this chick!
All in all, we think our friend Joan said it best when it comes to the premise of this whole campaign:
And There Goes The One Topic We Never Thought We’d Come Across Here,
The Girl With The Pearl
As we start the WEEK OF THE MOCKINGJAY TRAILER RELEASE, many questions remain:
Is it a full trailer, or another one of the propaganda videos?
When can I watch it on my Samsung Galaxy Amazing Awesomeness Tablet/Phone?
When is it actually going to be released online?
Well, none of these questions have been officially answered yet, but there are a few good leads.
While Lionsgate in their press release called it a teaser trailer, it seems likely this will be a longer 2 min+ trailer. They may just call it a teaser since it is the first official trailer to come out. (The other two being viral videos, or rather Presidential Addresses)
You can download the ultra-special awesome Samsung app starting on the 28th, so if you were expecting to bypass the trip to the fantabulous wonderland that is a Samsung Experience Best Buy stores over the weekend to see the trailer, I’m afraid not.
While there is no news from Lionsgate, the Russian distributor has said the trailer will be available online at 12am ET Monday July 28 (9pm PT Sunday July 27).
So, as per usual, we’re not left with much of anything concrete yet, other than it’s the T-word. I guess that’s the thing we have wanted for so long, so we should be EXCITED. YEAH. TRAILER IS COMING IN LESS THAN A WEEK ONLINE. WE THINK. PROBABLY.
But given this weird distribution strategy of a weekend Best Buy store exclusive, it’s certainly put a damper on the whole thing. I’ve been wondering if it’s just me and the fans that I know who have been bummed out by it. Are we being too emotional about it? When going through comments and posts, I’ve seen A LOT of negativity, interspersed with Samsung owners who are happy (granted they are usually happy because they mistakenly think they will be able to see the trailer first via their device from anywhere).
Then you have the non-fans or casual viewers who pop their heads in to say that we’re being stupid, BECAUSE IT WILL BE ONLINE EVENTUALLY DUH, and to STOP COMPLAINING. I’ve been able to control myself and not respond to such people, but wow are those non-fan/casual-viewer comments infuriating.
We all have things that we love, interests that we follow closely. For some people it’s a sport/sports team or some other kind of hobby. For others, it’s books and movies. And we love THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies. Last year’s SDCC event was a great day in the fandom. We mistakenly believed that we would get a repeat of that day for Mockingjay Part 1. I’m not saying there won’t be good things to come out of SDCC for fans. I mean, there’s a TRAILER that those casual viewers keep reminding us we can see EVENTUALLY. And usually studios will release posters or other things as well, which I really hope Lionsgate does. But without a Hall H panel or concurrent trailer release, it seems that it will be much more muted than last year, and I think a lot of us are realizing that we better keep our expectations in check.
There’s always next year, right?
We’ve got BONUS guest posts for you this week! Check out another Mockingjay musing from Satsuma, who sees plenty of opportunity of historical parallels in the final two films!
Here I am, trying to make more predictions about the MJ movies. My last post dealt with their possible approach to romance. This one focuses more on the politics. Specifically, whether the movies will continue to make references to historical political events that have parallels to what happens in Panem.I say “continue to”, because both THG and CF seemed to make a directed effort to make viewers consider the parallels, in many subtle ways. Maybe it’s just me, but the “Capitol = Rome” set-up SC created seems to have actually taken a back seat, with more modern examples of tyranny and oppression being focused on more. We have the Capitol set design from THG, inspired by “brutalist” architecture used by the Nazi’s, as well as Tianamen Square; and the use of Henry River Mill village, a real life “company town” (though for a different industry than coal) for the Seam.
And while this isn’t expressly political, I was also quite struck by the Capitol equivalent of a sports book that was showcased in that movie, especially as we see gambling in all forms becoming more and more socially acceptable these days in the US, and states trying to get a cut of the action; not just the state lotteries, but, for example, how Governor Christie of New Jersey recently attempted to legalize sports gambling in his state). And while FYI I admit I never “got” the whole allure of gambling, certainly one can argue that it’s yet another way that the “powers that be” can distract citizens from more serious issues.
In CF, the D11 design actually tweaked aspects of canon, such as showing workers picking cotton instead of fruit as they did in the book, to drive the “D11 = Deep South”, not just geographically but culturally as well, to the extent of giving the Peacekeepers attack dogs that I bet Bull Connor would have loved to own. (Brief history lesson: Connor was a notorious segregationist “Commissioner of Public Safety” in Birmingham, AL, who cracked down harshly on civil rights protestors in the 1960s. I’ve even wondered if Connor’s deceptively benign job title, helped inspire the “Peacekeeper” moniker.)
And not only did CF harken back to the 1960’s, it also showed “rebellion” footage that seemed straight out of the Arab Spring. I’m sure that was no co-incidence.Especially knowing that Danny Strong wrote the first scripts, I’m sure that MJ will continue to showcase these historical and political parallels. (Note that, as has been mentioned on this blog before, “Game Change” actually has a lot of similarities to MJ even though Sarah Palin is VERY different from Katniss in many ways, both feature a female character “campaigning” for a cause and frequently “going rogue” and disregarding the scripts their handlers want them to follow.)
Note that the MJ marketing again touched on the idea of “Panem field hands = African Americans”, considering the race of the woman chosen to represent the Grain district (even though she likely hailed from the Midwest, not as strongly associated with the African American civil rights struggle as the Deep South, though certainly the North had/has its own issues with racism as well.)
Unfortunately, it’s likely too late for the MJ movies to draw the obvious parallels between the MJ rebellion and what’s happening at the Ukraine-Russia border these days, right down to innocent civilians being caught in the cross-fire, with each side pointing the finger at the other as the culprit for a wartime atrocity. Much as in MJ, I wonder if we’ll ever find out the REAL story about who shot down that airliner. (On the other hand, there’s still almost two years worth of marketing to go…)
But we know that the Iraq war helped to inspire SC to write this story, as did her father’s experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. I can certainly see, for example, a shot of rebels dragging down a statue of Snow, much as Saddam Hussein’s statue bit the dust. Or perhaps we’ll see a shot of Snow being dragged out of a bunker somewhere. And while Julianne Moore’s description of D13 seems more consistent with “Jericho” and other post-apocalyptic societies than the historical Soviet Union, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some reference to the idea of “Capitol = US, D13 = USSR”; perhaps a nod to classic Cold War era movies such as “Dr. Strangelove” (which itself based the not-so-good Doctor partly on Werner von Brown, who managed to jump from serving the Nazis in WWII to directing NASA in the 1960s; hmm, that sounds almost like what Plutarch did, actually).
Finally, the reason I titled this post “Applicability”, is that the current events in Crimea really did impress me with how applicable this series is to the Ukraine/Russia conflict, even though SC wrote the books years before this conflict flared up. In both, we have rebels who want to break away from one problematic regime, yet are backed by another regime that has many problematic aspects as well. This is one reason I think this series may remain relevant for a while, even after the last MJ movie.
Awhile back, like a couple of years ago– I wrote about the prospect of The Hunger Games utilizing the tried and truth money-making method of product placement. However, now that a few major companies have made brief, and lasting partnerships with the franchise (Cover Girl, Subway) I’m struck with the thought again of “what if?” In the case of the most recent news of Lionsgate having sold the trailer debut of the first Mockingjay film to Samsung, I’m struck even harder with “what if?” But now it’s pulsing, and loud, and um… annoying.
What if Samsung are the makers of all those futuristic projection televisions we’ve seen in the last two Hunger Games films. Or worse, what if in Mockingjay: Part Two the Holo that Boggs carries around in the field is made by Samsung as well? What if for some ridiculous reason Lionsgate decides that in the last installments of the series to throw integrity aside, and forget that the companies of our world no longer exist, and have no place in the world of Panem. But alas they start
throwing in familiar, contemporary logos and symbols left and right, like a Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis film. Granted those directors were more tasteful than gratuitous with their usage of product placement, dare I say it– they perfected it, but things could change. They could do close ups on Snow’s white, blue veined hand reaching out and clicking a button on his projection television, and the Samsung logo is clear and prominent, like Audi in iRobot, or Omega in Casino Royale, or Ducati in Tron: Legacy– or the worst offender of them all, almost every frame in Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Speculation you will be the death of us!? Damn… I want a Coke.
Them There Eyes
News came out today that Mockingjay Part 1 would indeed have a presence at San Diego Comic Con. Yay! That’s awesome and great. And expected, since Lionsgate has been saying all along they would be at Comic Con since January. But now we know some of the stars will be there, which is great news for fans who long ago bought tickets thinking that Mockingjay would have a presence at the Con.
But then came the news of the Samsung partnership with Mockingjay Part 1, and how this would affect the LONG AWAITED Mockingjay trailer release.
In a first-of-its-kind experience, fans will have the opportunity to preview the highly-anticipated The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer on the Galaxy Tab S at an exclusive premiere in San Diego during Comic-Con on Friday, July 25. For those outside San Diego, beginning Saturday, July 26, fans can visit participating Samsung Experience Shops within Best Buy locations nationwide throughout the weekend to preview the trailer.
So basically, the trailer will debut at SDCC ONLY on July 25. Then over the weekend you can watch the trailer IF YOU GO TO A BEST BUY STORE. If you’re an international fan, you’re out of luck until next week, when the trailer presumably goes online.
But don’t fear, fans without SDCC tickets or a Best Buy nearby, I’m sure there will be plenty of low quality versions of the trailer recorded on people’s MOBILE DEVICES that will be uploaded on the internet. It’ll be everywhere. Even if you want to avoid it, there inevitably will be screenshots all over social media that weekend.
To say I’m disappointed in this rollout plan would be a gross understatement. The thing I love about trailer releases is to share the experience online with fans around the world. Last year’s online release of the Catching Fire along with SDCC was such a fun event for fans everywhere. This staggered release RUINS the opportunity to make the release a big worldwide experience. To think that fans are going to ignore the LQ versions that will pop up to wait for Lionsgate to post on YouTube is preposterous. We had evidence of that a few weeks ago when the first teaser leaked. It will not work.
The people that really want to see your movie trailer ASAP are your hardcore fans. So a trailer release should be focused around THE FANS and how you can make that experience special. Instead, the rights to the trailer release were sold to Samsung. We certainly don’t question Lionsgate’s right to money off this movie. That’s why they’re in business and we’re very glad they’ve made these movies! But they really should keep in mind who their customers are. The customers who will see the movie several times, buy the merch, and give the movie buzz care THE MOST about trailer releases! Please stop destroying the experiences that they value and have waited for desperately for a few extra bucks.
And so what should be happy news (A TRAILER IS COMING. FINALLY. YES.) is tinged with sadness.
Caesar’s Scrunchy is back once again with EVEN MOAR visual beauty! Today, she’s talking about how Catching Fire portrayed the way Cinna left his mark on more than just The Mockingjay!
I decided to fill the time waiting for “Mockingjay” by watching “Catching Fire” again, and noticed that Effie Trinkett was wearing a necklace (in Katniss’ wedding dress/Mockingjay dress scene) that looked like arrowheads. Then I noticed Katniss’ earrings when her dress transforms become arrowheads too, and then… there were arrowheads (triangles) ALL OVER the movie!
And they were worn only by Katniss’ allies, whether she knew they were her allies or not.
Then I decided that because, as Effie says, Cinna is the most influential designer in the Capitol, it makes sense that he would put these arrowheads subliminally in his designs, and that others would copy him.
Check it out – these pages show Cinna’s influence, with tons of arrowheads (triangles) throughout. I found these images from basic Google web searches (I don’t own any of the photos or anything else– it all belongs to Lionsgate and Suzanne Collins, ok?)
VICTORY TOUR COSTUMING
PRESIDENT SNOW AND HIS FOLLOWERS
But trust me: it’s tons of fun watching “Catching Fire” again, and seeing if you can find who else wears the arrowheads…and who doesn’t!