22 March 2010

How to Merchandize

Never rent Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I realize that saying this makes me instantly and wildly unpopular among a demographic which includes people who write entire novels about centaur on underage wizard boy "romance." For the purposes of making the full impact of the previous sentence as creepy as possible— and because it is more or less true—, "romance" means "sex."

Apart from wussing out by failing to include the epic battle at the end, the movie itself wasn't terrible. The fact that I was forced to watch almost twenty minutes of merchandizing tie-ins? That was terrible. Or, terribly awesome, if you like merchandizing and not getting to watch the movie you just rented.

I saw trailers for three different Harry Potter video games marketed to each of the three major gaming consoles, some kind of DVD-reliant trivia game, a special ultimate collector's director's edition of the first film (with the others to come), information on additional books and videos based in the Harry Potter universe, and only two previews for other, non-Harry Potter films.

I suppose it is important to make money on tie-ins for a film. I would think this is slightly less necessary for the ninth highest grossing film of all time. Seriously. Top ten.

Part of why this bothers me is that these trailers and previews can't be skipped, nor can one fast-forward through them. Annoying, but not altogether uncommon. Except that this only exists on the rental copy, not on a retail copy you might pick up for your home library. So, the people who are not fans enough of the franchise to have purchased the movie are the target demographic for tie-ins which they are almost certainly unlikely to purchase.

Think about it: I am renting the sixth movie of a series based on seven books. If I don't own any of the films at this point, I'm not buying some goofy plastic wand that asks me half-assed trivia questions. I get that you guys want to sell stuff, I really do, but this doesn't seem like a good idea. At the very least, I pure straight hate you guys for making me wait so damn long to watch that movie.

But maybe that's the real point. Maybe I'm supposed to get frustrated enough by the ads for the tie-ins that I go out and actually buy the movie. Maybe that's the secret to becoming the ninth highest-grossing film of all time: annoy people with unavoidable ads for things they don't want so that they buy the movie you just made. I guess that's how you merchandize.

04 March 2010

All My Politics Are Based on Drinks

Do you want to know why nothing gets done in American politics these days? Two reasons: 1) No more duels, which used to be a quick way of resolving complex political issues, and 2) Not enough drink-based political parties. Now, we're going to have to fight for the former, but we're all very fortunate in that the second is being taken care of as we speak.

Barring some kind of brain trauma, you may remember a year ago when we saw the beginning of the Tea Party. On tax day, tens upon dozens of what are now Tea Party members sent tea bags to the White House or Congress or Fox News. I'm very glad the Tea Party exists, because it seems like the perfect place for people who don't understand why the phrase "Teabagging the White House" is hilarious.

Now, however, there is a new movement happening. It is just as grassrootsingly important as the Tea Party, and it's called, as you might imagine, The Coffee Party. The Coffee Party is the anti-Tea Party. Rather than stage obnoxious protests with laughably misspelled signs, the Coffee Party seeks to have subdued, equally irrelevant conversations over intentionally elitist coffees.

I'll grant you this: drink-based parties are way more interesting than the boring old Republicans and Democrats. But why stop at coffee and tea? Why not a Fruit Juice Party? Or a Milk Party? Or, best yet, a Whiskey Party?

Because each of our great beveragist parties was started as a grassroots movement, I'm issuing a call today. A call for all the drink drinkers of America to rise up and form not just one or two, but a multitude of new political parties based on your drink of choice. It doesn't matter if you have a platform or a purpose. What's important is to have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. Make your drink parties! Rise up, citizens, and raise your glasses!

Only don't do Whiskey Party, because I'm doing Whiskey Party.

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