In Friday Jan 27th’s Wall Street Journal there’s a cover story (upper left lead article) about how television shows for tots rely on merchandising to pay for their production costs. With that age group, advertising is ineffective, so sell plush toys, backpacks etc. Get ready for this. Dora the Explorer sold over US $1.4 billion in merchandising last year!

This actually occurs on the music side of filmmaking where sister record companies to the distributor insist on pushing their latest act by placing a song in the soundtrack. This movie extra, the soundtrack album usually has very little to do with the film except in earning extra merchandising dollars. But why stop there? Why not special limited edition iPods that are engraved with the signature of the lead actor in your film? And why not load that iPod up with special edition music cues from the film along with commentary from the composer? If you can get name talent, you may be able to sell their likenesses before you even start shooting thereby paying for the shoot. You may notice I’m being a little bit cheeky here. But not really that much.

My time in advertising/marketing has twisted my brain to see “brand extensions” everywhere. Is that like hair extensions?

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