Selling & Popular Culture

 

OK, today’s post I would like to talk about…

Thanos

Who … you may ask?

Well, Thanos is the ultimate bad guy in the Marvel Universe, who in the next 2 movies (being released across the next 2 years), will be coming to Earth to take back the Infinity Stones… and the Avengers (Ironman, Thor, Hulk etc) will be called up to do battle with him to protect us all.

From a Internet Marketing perspective… so what… no big deal?

Yeah, perhaps… but what is interesting from an Internet Marketing perspective, while you are reading this, Hollywood movie merchandising execs are probably sitting down with Chinese execs to draw up contracts to churn out…

Thanos USB sticks, mouse mats, toys, etc etc…

So that when the 1st movie hits, Thanos merchandising / products will be EVERYWHERE…

Can you remember the world before Minions… and then the 1st Despicable Me movie hit cinemas… and Minion merchandising hit the big time… and there is still money to be made from Minions

… but how much more opportunity is there if you know the merchandising wave is coming… and you can ride the wave at just the right time, for a new product which is tied into a movie franchise…

So that your Facebook ads are in synch with the mass publicity for the movie… (second wave when it is released to DVD).

… and it is possible to do that… it’s just a matter of awareness and timing…

So if you are interested in selling these types of products, ones which are very much tied in with popular culture… it is as important to know what is coming on the horizon as it is to know what is selling now

So that you can surf the wave when it hits…

Just as some franchises fade over time (Lord of the Rings)… new ones are born… while others are being continually rejuvenated (AvengersHarry Potter – i.e. new trilogy starting later this year)…

OK, doesn’t work for all movies… i.e. Independence Day 2 merchandise is not appearing on Ali Express… and recent Jungle Book movie re-make never caught the public imagination… (all those unsold products will probably end up in a landfill in China, or melted down to be re-used maybe).

But for many of the big movies is does.

Now, can’t claim to be a prophet… but in years time, I predict Thanos products will be everywhere in the run-up to the big movie releases (and the new Justice League┬ámovie series is also in a similar build-up over the next couple of years).

But here’s the thing… and it is quite important to get your head around.

Just as there will be Chinese manufacturers churning out Thanos products under licence from the Hollywood studio, there will also be many manufacturers making Thanos products without a licence.

Now, if that was to happen in the U.S. then the Hollywood studios would sue for infringement of trademark or something… but because this is China… well, let’s say they do things differently over there.

But the Hollywood studies could potentially sue you if you are selling an unlicensed product over here in the law abiding West… if they found you doing it.

So what should you do if you really do want to sell in this very lucrative niche?

Well, there are basically two approaches:

1) Contact the manufacturers and ask if they have a valid licence to make and sell such products… and if they say Yes, and can email a photocopy then all is well and good… and if they say No, then you will know… and keep going until you find a licensed product.

2) If they don’t respond, or even say No, they don’t have a license, then you could still continue to sell their unlicensed product… but if you do so, remember, you are walking into this with your eyes open, and don’t be surprised if you get an email from the Hollywood studio (merchandising division) saying that you are infringing their trademark… because remember, as soon as you start advertising your product online… you not only make it visible to potential Customers… but you also make it visible to all the people employed to detect and prevent product trademark infringement.

So money to be made possibly… but these products tied to a movie franchise do come with extra strings attached, that you shouldn’t ignore.

(c) Brian Parsons, August 2016