Public Relations and Ad Specialties Have a History of Movie Promotion
Before meta tagging and a global recession, YouTube and WWW, the PR specialty recognized as event promotion co-existed comfortably with the generic label “Advertising Specialties” and the all-to-often blank stare items of useless junk offered as engagement bait in monthly catalogs from dozens of merchandisers, ranging from post office box headquartered side gigs to large resellers on the national stage.
Key rings and pens, notepads and refrigerator magnets are top-of-mind when it comes to booth memorabilia and convention mementos. But for one enterprise zone, the movie industry, ad specialties were often the stuff dreams are made of, and represent a time that’s come and gone in the history of promotion.
How YouTube Clobbered the Memorabilia Industry
This Twitter account is dedicated to preserving what product promotion looked like for big budget Hollywood releases from the ’80s to the oughts, when giveaways faced no testing for conversion and spending limits were non-existent. Underwear, berets, snack foods, cereal, flashlights—if a logo could be stamped, carved, embossed, or shaped, anything in the vast world of consumer merchandise was fair game.
Field of Dreams
— Movie Promotional Merch Unlimited (@NightPromoting) November 20, 2021
Movie Promotional Merch Unlimited‘s @NightPromoting offers historical insight into the art, not always evident, of adapting movie logos to merchandise well beyond cheap pens and instantly forgettable koozies. The giveaways, targeted to critics for then still powerful national and regional papers, magazines, and on-air broadcasts at the high end to VHS renters at the retail level, didn’t always make marketing sense.
For Promotional Use Only Belongs On Marketeers Bookshelves
Content creator/marketing indy shop A24 is a master at generating word-of-mouth for their products, and they’re also an archival site preserving memories of promotions ranging from Crocodile Dundee to The Color Purple. Their bookshelf worthy overview of film marketing is a 230-page plus hardcover history of memorable campaigns. For Promotional Use Only, which catalogs the Golden Age of tchotchkes from 1975-2005, is a treasure trove of both history and inspiration.