Film memorabilia attracts fresh wave of collectors: Social media has created new opportunities to share movie experience

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Film memorabilia attracts fresh wave of collectors: Social media has created new opportunities to share movie experience

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Recently released films, including Claude Lelouch’s “Un Plus Une,” Lee Yo-sup’s “The Queen of Crime,” and Woody Allen’s melodrama “Cafe Society” have come out with various promotional merchandise such as a handkerchief, packaged coffee and notebook. [GREEN NARAE MEDIA, STUDIO 706, STUDIO 706, AMAZON STUDIOS]

One of Jeon Ji-hye’s favorite hobbies is collecting movie posters and postcards that depict a movie’s special scenes. Her hobby dates back to 2003, when she first collected promotional items from the movie “Sword in the Moon” by filmmaker Kim Uh-seok.

Since then, she has grown her collection and regularly posts pictures of the items on social media for others to see.

“I live in Andong, North Gyeongsang,” said Jeon. “For people like me that live in rural areas, we frequently trade movie items to get limited edition postcards, which are usually only distributed in the capital area,” Jeon continued.

Jeon added that one of the biggest advantages of collecting the items is being able to possess something that has a special meaning to a person who loved that particular film.

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Promotional merchandise of Todd Haynes’ romantic drama “Carol,” which included a package of postcards and a bookmark, was especially well-received by moviegoers. [ALL THAT CINEMA, CGV ARTHOUSE]

“These items help us remember what we loved about a movie, and they have become more meaningful these days with their prettier designs.”

For movie promotion agencies, selling promotional goods has traditionally been one of the ways to advertise a newly-launched film, but now their popularity has grown so much that the companies cannot overlook the demand.

Dedicated collectors of movie promotional goods have started appearing, and the demand has led to the creation of several companies to exclusively handle these types of products.

Common movie goods that can be found are postcards, pencils, stickers and cotton bags. These specially-designed items are usually handed out to the audience in special occasions such as movie preview.

Since many people post these items on social media to share with others, the products have become one of the most basic and cost-efficient means of advertisement.

“Selling [movie goods] is a way [for a film] to yield the greatest publicity with minimal advertising cost,” said Jin Myeong-hyeon, the CEO of an independent movie distributor and advertiser MOVement.

MOVement most recently worked on promoting “Worst Woman,” directed by Kim Jong-kwan and released in late August, and produced several promotional products such as a cotton bag and a photo frame stamped with the movie’s title.

The agency also circulated glass saucers with the film’s poster at a cafe located in Seochon in central Seoul, which was the main setting of the movie.

“Since the budget is limited for Korea’s independent films compared to Hollywood blockbusters, crafting promotional goods is especially important,” said Jin. “The products should be attractive and make moviegoers want to voluntarily post photos of the items on social media, which would indirectly lead to the movie’s promotion.

Due to the significant influence the goods can create, the designs of movie posters have grown to be highly crucial. This is because the image released before the movie hit theaters can sometimes determine the success or failure of the film.”

The melodrama “Carol,” directed by Todd Haynes and released in February, is an example of the significance of movie goods. A few of the well-received products included a bookmark and a package of postcards displaying certain scenes from the film.

“If items that reflect a movie are created, they could even lead viewers to watch the same movie several times,” said Kim Tae-ju from All That Cinema, which led promotions for “Carol.” “In fact, quite a number of people are actually choosing to watch a movie for a second time after purchasing these specifically-designed movie goods,” Kim added.

To make full use of the products’ influence, several companies made attempts at attracting potential customers that may be interested in a movie they are advertising to actively look for the products in advance of watching the flick. In this case, goods are designed by collaborating with young designers or newly-launched brands because the originality of a product matters more than the size of a company.

The promotional agency behind the latest Japanese romance flick “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle,” directed by Iwai Shunji and unveiled in late September, created an illustrated poster with Shin Morae, who is one of the most well-known illustrators on social media. The agency also created a badge in collaboration with a small-sized studio Sosiminwork. Such collaborated products are usually sold through social media or pop-up stores while the movie is being screened in theaters.

The craze to produce original and well-crafted items of a movie has started influencing the quality of promotional posters.

“Since response towards movie goods across social media is very positive, movie [distributors] have started ordering more unique and prettier designs,” said Choi Ji-woong from design company Propaganda.

“We are currently trying out more diverse materials and sizes in design. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the craze in these goods has contributed to developing domestic movies’ [promotional posters’] graphic design.”

Due to the popularity of movie items, some companies have started taking advantage of the new trend to make money out of it. One of them includes Film Goods, which is run by the operator of DK Total, a printing company that has been involved in the printing of movie posters for a number of years.

Its CEO Woo Hea-jyoung and manager Yoo Jin-a decided to open Film Goods to exclusively deal with movie promotional products.

BY LEE EUN-SUN [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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