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Brands Culturejack 50 Shades of Grey

From Walmart, Target and Sears to Trojan Condoms, Sponge Bob and B & Q Hardware, brands are in a frenzy to tie in with the release of ’50 Shades of Grey’ which, by all accounts is a terrible movie. But that’s beside the point. Variety reports that the film “utterly dominated” the weekend, with record-breaking $81.7 million in ticket sales in the first three days.

Etta Stark nailed it in Mostly Film:
“This year’s most eagerly awaited film based on rehashed porny Twilight fanfiction is out today! Whether you love it, hate it, pretend to hate it but secretly love it, wank over it but still sort of hate it or have a complicated and mutually self-destructive relationship with it (but only because your mom was a crack whore), the makers of Fifty Shades of Grey: The Motion Picture almost certainly don’t care. Just so long as you hand over your money.”

And that goes for brands too. Here’s a sampling of the way brands have tied in with the release of the film. From funny, to weird, to WTF? to downright bizarre, this is but a small sampling of brands culture-jacking.

The WTF Connections

  • 50 Shades Baby ClothesSquigglyBoo Infant Creeper – 9 Months Ago Mommy Read Fifty Shades of Grey $16.99 in a wide range of colors in the “Funny Baby Clothes” Category.
    Freedom Cuffs
    • OPI 50 Shades of Grey Nailcolor Pack at Macy’s $21.95

      50 Shades NailPolish PM

      Set includes six mini nail lacquers:
      • My Silk Tie: This silky, gleaming silver has got me all tied up.
      • Dark Side of the Mood: This brooding, stormy charcoal is dangerously gorgeous, etc, etc.

  • Vermont Teddy Bear – 50 Shades of Christian Grey Bear – $89
    Comes with free gourmet chocolates and a gift card and he’s recommended for those who want “to dominate Valentine’s Day”
    Yecch!
    50 Shades TeddyBear
    • Sponge Bob Movie Tweet 15K RTs
      50 Shades-Spongebob

    The Obvious Connections

    • Trojan Condoms, whose parody video has gone sort of viral, with 421K views.
    • The Curtis Hotel in Denver, where recreational pot is legal, has a deal – 50 Shades of Green, complete with pot. The “totally dope package” that costs $420 (a number that is said to mean something to many cannabis users) includes two movie passes, roses, and in-room munchies like brownies and Cheetos. “In place of romantic roses, a vase of Colorado weeds. Literally.”

      Unfortunately, the Curtis is a completely nonsmoking property.

  • British Hardware Store B&Q sent a memo to managers:
    “Store managers are requested to monitor stock levels of rope, cable ties, masking tape and [duct] tape to ensure that supplies do not run low.”
    • Audi – the car maker, which is featured in the book and film, teamed up with comedian Vanessa Bayer for Fifty Shades of Grey Elevator Scene video that spoofs the series’ elevator scene. It has had more than 1.1 million views to date.
    • There’s even a new limited-edition Fifty Shades of Grey craft beer from Innus & Gunnthat incorporates 50 different hops and other ingredients that supposedly have aphrodisiac qualities. It’s selling for $46 a bottle.

    The Clever Connections


    • 50 Shades of Chicken Cookbook and Video Trailer
      I gave these as holiday gifts in 2012.

      50 Shades of Chicken

      Chapter titles include: Dripping Thighs, Sticky Chicken Fingers, Vanilla Chicken, Chicken with a Lardon, Bacon-Bound Wings, Spatchcock Chicken, Learning-to-Truss-You Chicken, Holy Hell Wings and Mustard-Spanked Chicken. You know you want it!

    So are you going to see 50 Shades of Grey?