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Merchandise tie-in can be termed as ways and methods that are used to create and sustain specific commercially-related activities. The specific activities contribute to the sale of products to consumers. Merchandising acts in such a way that it stimulates the interest of consumers in relation to the products intended to be sold. Merchandise tie-ins can be termed as one of the most ingenious ways for the entertainment industry. The phenomenon of tying products with entertainment products has a long history. However, merchandise tie-ins did not gain momentum until the 60’s and 70’s. There was relatively little activity with relation to merchandise tie-ins prior to this period. The first merchandising can be said as having its origins from the Disney brothers. Disney managed to use Mickey Mouse as a merchandise tie-in. The merchandise was through the steamboat in the year 1928. The next year, the company as offered an amount of three hundred ($300) dollars to allow for the usage of Mickey Mouse on writing tablets. Thus, around the year 1930, a lot of Disney products were sold around the world. The products ranged from ice cream to soap to even Cartier diamond bracelets. The company used this money to finance their various operations. In this perspective, the race and custom for merchandising were born. Various production houses have used the art of merchandise tie-ins; and successfully too (Galician, 2004). This paper aims to look into some of the most successful merchandise tie-ins in existence and practice.

One of the most merchandised movies of all times can be said to be Star Trek. Star Trek’s (1977) success set the pace for other movies that followed the merchandising trend. There are various merchandises related to the epic film that were and are still on sale (Lucasfilm Ltd, 2012). Some of the products tied to the film include toys, garbs, and video games amongst the others. Star Wars sales have rocketed through the decades, forcing the makers of the film to release sequels to the film. The fame of the film made the various fans of the movies want to have a piece of the film. Movie producers and owners of the film saw a niche for making money in relation to memorabilia related to the movie. This led to the manufacturing of toys in large scale. The toys were majorly successful in sales, as they pegged their sales on the success of the feature film (Lucasfilm Ltd, 2012).

The major success of the toys led to the creation of garbs. The garbs were based on the dressing of characters in the film. Fans of the films wanted to dress like some of their on screen idols. Among the most demanded clothing were those that were created in relation to the character Vader. Fans around the world wanted something that would identify them with the character. In response to this niche, garbs that were similar to those worn by the character were produced. The clothing was an instant hit with the fans; like the toys. This phenomenal merchandising raised interest in the film industry. The success story led other corporations to try and incorporate merchandising into the epic films. Corporations even decided to invest in a whole film in a bid to try and promote their products, and in the process, raise their sales figures. Over the years, the success with merchandise tie-ins has led the producers of Star Trek to expand their Star Trek merchandise. The expanded merchandise has increased to include everyday products and accessories. The selling line is that, “˜for individuals who want to have a piece of Star Trek in their homes’. The line has totally worked as the sales figures related to the products have continuously proven. The sale of merchandise related to the film has created a multibillion profit for those involved in the sales. Various films followed suits to this trend of merchandise tie-ins. However, some movies that tried to capitalize on the fame of other movies easily flopped. An epitome of this is the movie “˜Mac and Me’. The movie was meant to advertise Macdonald’s food chain, but it failed. The failure can be attributed to the movie, having copied another hit movie titled “˜E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial’ (Lucasfilm Ltd, 2012).

Another epic film that was and has been caught up in the merchandise tie-in is the epic hit; spider-man. At the release of the movie, many individuals were caught by the story of a human being having the abilities of a spider. Everyone, old and young alike, wanted to have a piece of spider-man. This led to producers and marketers of the movie catching in on this opportune moment. Various memorabilia were instantly developed to reap on the movie’s success; which they undoubtedly did. The movie firm signed contracts to allow for manufacturing firms to use the spider-man fame in publicizing their products. In addition, merchandises related to the movie were made. One of the merchandises made and sold was a spider-man suit. Many fans of the movie were awed by the colored suit that spider-man was depicted to wear. In this perspective, fans of the movie wanted to have a piece of the spider. This urge or gap in the fans, for symbolism, was taken and turned into a cash mint. Suits, which looked like that of the spider-man, were created. The suits were an instant hit with masses. The relation and association of the movie with the suits made their sale soar. Having a spider-man suit was taken by many fans as fashionable; though they were worn on special occasions. Retail outlets stacked merchandise related to spider-man. This ensured that distribution was maximized throughout. Wal-Mart was such a retail outlet that was involved in the sale of the spider-man merchandise. The giant retail outlet was involved in the sale of bags, baby cots and other merchandise. The merchandise had spider-man’s distinctive blue and red colors. The mere fact that the merchandise was associated to spider-man ensured the tremendous demand. The immense success of spider-man also ensured that producers of the movie shot sequels to the movie (Best Little Sites, LLC, 2012).

Other firms caught up with the spider-man craze. One such firm to catch on this spider-man fever was the cosmetic firm OPI. The cosmetic dealer released the nail polish, hardeners, and even synthetic nails branded with spider-man images, colors and names. The fact that the products were associated with “˜Amazing Spider-man’ ensured that the products were an instant hit. Die-hard women fans bought the merchandise. The price was sometimes exorbitant in relation to other products, but sales were steadily high. Many individuals, some who never used the products before, bought them just because they were associated with the movie spider-man. Producers of the movie, retail outlets and other manufacturing firms reaped immense proceeds from the sale of the merchandise. This showed how powerful a tool for sales that a movie could be; if wisely used. In addition to all the mentioned merchandise, books, bed-sheets, toys, and wallpapers were produced. The merchandise so produced bore the spider-man logo, colors or distinctive web. New spider-man releases ensured the continued sale of spider-man merchandise. Every time a new movie was shot, the sales figures also rose. The merchandise was even sold in the movie theaters. This appealed to the many spider-man fans; especially those flocked movie theatres to see releases of the movie. The continued innovations in the movie sequels also ensured that new merchandise could be created. An example of this is in relation to one of the sequels of the spider-man that led to the creation of an evil side of spider-man; wearing a black suit. This created a new niche for making new suits; black in color. The evil side of spider-man, as a result of extraterrestrial occurrences, was depicted in spider-man 3 (Best Little Sites, LLC, 2012).

While talking about merchandise, one can never forget the immense profits earned from merchandise for batman movie. Batman is one of the sources of big merchandise sales. After the movie was released, immense following and a huge fan base led to the producers of the movie wanting to produce merchandise related to the movie. One of the most demanded products was batman’s clothing. Creation and mass marketing of batman’s cloak was a major hit. Masses flocked to buy batman’s clothing the instance they were made available in shops. Makers of the clothing reaped major profits from the sale of batman’s clothing. Each new batman movie created and brought with it increased sales of batman’s products. Another product that was an instant hit after it was launched was batman’s belt. In the movie, batman’s belt was depicted as carrying various gadgets that were used in his epic battles. The gadgets were also used to get out of a tight situation. The belt became an instant hit the moment manufacturers decided to mass produce them. Batman’s fans viewed the belt as a collector’s item and a-must-have item for any batman fan worth his salt. Fans viewed the combination of the belt and other paraphernalia as the closest one could become of batman (Superherostuff.com, 2012).

In addition, to the above batman merchandise, other “˜weird’ stuff was made by the various manufacturers. Some of the stuff, that one could term as weird, included batman underwear. One would wonder who would consider wearing a batman’s underwear; but, they are still sold. The selling point of some of the stuff was their relation with the movie. The movie has seen a merchandise relation in levels that were never presumed. Currently, there are batman lunchboxes, pajamas, buttons and baseball caps. Also, there are batman sandals, stickers, key chains and t-shirts. All the products that were manufactured in relation to the movie were, and instant hit with the fans. As long as the products had a small semblance that related it to the movie, fans of the movie bought it (Superherostuff.com, 2012).

Continuing with this trend of merchandise tie-in was Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones has been redone over the years. The first Indiana Jones movie, produced by Steven Spielberg, was an instant hit. Indiana Jones and the lost Ark, as it was titled, led to the production of the first line of Indiana Jones toys. After the release of the first Jone’s movie, and instant popularity, producers of the movie joined the bandwagon of merchandise tie-ins. Some of the first toys included action figures. The success of the story, of the sale of action figures, led to the development of play sets that were related to items that were included in the movie. Some of the merchandises that were created by the manufacturers coincided with new Indian Jones releases. This coinciding ensured instant popularity of the products. One such product included the development of a game set. The creation of the game set coincided with the release of the Indiana Jones sequel “˜Indiana Jones-Temple of Doom’. The tie-in of the board game with the release of the movie, in addition to the fame of the previous movie, ensured that the board game enjoyed the immense success. Some other merchandises that were related to the movie included models of characters in the movie. Collection of some of the movie characters was considered as a must-have for fans of the Indiana Jones movies. To ensure the continued success of the Indiana Jones franchise, some manufacturers released limited editions of some toys. The toys were made artificially unavailable, so that collectors found it had to find them. The use of limited collections continued to ensure the success of other merchandise releases. Individuals scrambled for the future releases of toys and branded items. An example of limited edition toys included those released by Hasbro Company. The toys were so limited such that even enthusiastic collectors found it hard for them to have a piece of the toy. The toys were based on the original Indiana Jones Movie; Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark (Galician, 2004).

In conclusion, merchandise tie-in is one of the most ingenious methods of making money to be created. Corporations, producers, and other retail outlets that have managed to capitalize on this venture have earned profits by the millions. The urge by fans of the different movies to have memorabilia has led to the emergence of a mega market. Merchandise created includes toys, clothing, action figures and games. The merchandises are not limited, as proved by the case of batman, and continue to grow by the day. However, a miscalculation on merchandise tie-in can lead to disastrous results and in some instances lead to losses. Thus, firms that need to tie-in particular products have been cautious. In some instances, retail outlets have refused to stock in products that are seen to be risky. There have been instances, whereby merchandises tied to movies have been returned to manufacturers.

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