When some god-awful sequel like Transformers 9 hits screens, you expect the endless parade of merchandise tie-ins. But not so much with Where the Wild Things Are. Nonetheless, the film has become something of a watershed for marketing to the tight-jeans, nerd-glasses set. Witness the current ads running for the film, which featuring gauzy cinematography and a track by Arcade Fire. Maybe this approach was crafted by the marketing team, but you've got to think that its indie creators had some hand in this. The film was written by Dave Eggers—the man who made anti-ironic ironic earnestness cool again, in his novels and memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius—and directed by Spike Jonze, a skate-video director turned auteur, who also was once married to Sophia Coppola, the muse of Marc Jacobs.
So what are we talking about, in terms of merch? Cool Hunting did a fabulous round-up of 13 separate tie-ins (collect 'em all!), and these include the usual suspects: Pop-up store installations, wacky outerwear, and creepy-cool jewelry.
The costumes above were designed by Christian Joy, the clothing designer best-known for creating the stage outfits of Karen O—the lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who also helped create the film's soundtrack. Currently, the costumes are on display at Space 15 Twenty, a cool-kid boutique in L.A., alongside an installation:
Opening Ceremony, in turn, designed several pieces inspired by the movie's aesthetic—ranging from dresses to shirts to coats, which cost between $300-900:
Not to be left out, Jonze's own skateboard company, Girl, produced some limited edition decks:
Now all this might seem like nothing more than a daisy chain of social connections. But then again, it might be something more: Notice that in the marketing for WTWTA, it's pointedly not being sold as a children's movie. That said, it's probably not exactly a mainstream flick either—but what it has in spades is street cred.
Now, there's been lots of debate over the merits of the "influencer" theory of marketing—whereby, you sell a product to the coolest crowd, and wait for them to sell it to everyone else. Some people think it's total B.S.
Still, rarely do you see big-budget efforts for a wide-release movie attached to such a carefully constructed (and small-bore) cast of cross-promoters. And each of these tie-ins has been endlessly recycled on innumerable style blogs? Maybe, in the age of the Internet, niche brands really do have outsize influence.
If this works—and that's a big if, since some have speculated that WTWTA will bomb—you can bet we'll see more tie-ins along these lines.
Via Cool Hunting, which has juicy collection of images.