Culture

The Delicious Irony of Catching Fire’s Promotional Products

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I hope you had an awesome Thursday regardless of what you did or didn’t celebrate, for now it is the worst day in any retail worker’s life: Black Friday. Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday (if you can ignore American Express), and Monday shall be Cyber Monday. If you are out there today, braving the wilds, remember to please be kind to fellow shoppers and retail workers out there. They are just as, if not more, frustrated than you at the ridiculousness of it all.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released a few weeks ago, for starters. It’s doing damn well, too, if the 89% on Rotten Tomatoes is anything to go by (it is). I think it’s amusing that the release of Catching Fire falls in the same month as the biggest excuse for mass consumerism the world has probably ever seen. Black Friday is no longer the day in which Christmas sales begin and has become the day you find a really great deal on a new TV for yourself. Any mention of Christmas and the spirit of giving is an afterthought.

Much like a lot of the promotional tie-ins for Catching Fire, in fact.

The Hunger Games is set in a future dystopian society (my favorite kind) where the Haves (The Capitol) and the Havenots (literally everyone else) come to a revolutionary clash because the Havenots got really tired of being pushed around and watching their children die. As far as dictatorial control methods, the Capitol could have done a lot better. I’ve spent the last few years listening to Revan tear apart the entire social structure of the series and it’s unsustainability.

This is important. The Capitol has created for itself a playground, a world of decadence and exuberance usually reserved for Ancient Rome and Hedonism Bot.

Hedonism Bot Apologizes for Nothing

It is cotton candy, brightly colored and lacking any substance. It is a product meant to be enjoyed by its citizens, and it is a statement on our consumerist culture in our increasingly globalized society.

So let’s take a look at how it’s being used to promote sales this holiday season.

First off, we have the CoverGirl Capitol Collection.

Covergirl Capitol Collection

There’s one for every District in its respective theme, but the collection is missing something obvious: the Capitol, which would be the only place in this fictional universe that would even bother with this kind of stuff. District 12 doesn’t need mascara to get that Coal Miner’s Model Daughter look.

Don’t get me wrong, this stuff looks cute. I may go buy something from it because I have a nail polish obsession. (Was it O.P.I. that did a Hunger Games themed polish collection when the first film debuted? I can’t remember. Wait, found it. It was China Glaze.) But I can’t help but look at the marketing and the irony of this product tie-in, and the missed opportunity to really go crazy with some of the products. Think of the hair chalk CoverGirl could have created for the outrageous Capitol looks!

The CoverGirl line is not to be confused with the viral marketing Capitol Couture ads and Capitol PN campaign. Those are kind of awesome and well-played. (Speaking of The Capitol PN, what District do you lovely readers end up in? I always find myself in District 1 as a jewelry maker. I won’t complain. District 1 is the bougiest of the Districts.)

By the way, have you heard that Lionsgate’s CEO wants to build a Hunger Games amusement park? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is doing well, so why not capitalize on something in the same vein! Never mind the core plot of the first two books/films is about teenagers who have to murder each other like dystopian gladiators for a reality television program. The announcement of such a park has sparked a few articles detailing what potential visitors would like to see, but (un?)fortunately they’re lacking in the voyeuristic bloodshed area.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Subway’s misguided attempt at product placement. I’ve been seeing a Peeta cardboard standee peeking out at me at my local Subway, but the commercials… Well, it really speaks for itself. Someone, somewhere, was tasked with creating an advertisement connecting Subway with The Hunger Games and this is what they came up with. It’s almost too sad to make fun of it.

Oh well.

May the odds be ever in your favor this holiday season, dear readers.

Purple-haired Pepper Potts.

1 Comment

  1. Promotional Products Canada

    January 31, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    Everytime you discuss a marketing product with someone else, you are basically doling out an invites to your brand’s system.

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