9 Baffling Movie Merchandise Tie-Ins


Every summer, movie season collides with merchandising mania to create a perfect storm of licensed nonsense. We, the human race, have proven to Hollywood time and time again that we will empty our pockets for anything with our favorite movie logo hastily slapped on it. But at least most of that junk allows us to momentarily remember why we loved the movie: Thor’s hammer. A Star Wars X-wing toy. Then there are these.

1. James Bond Scented Candle

The James Bond Scented Candle is the triple threat of bad movie marketing:

1. Yes, James Bond has romanced many a lady, but he’s never been the “flowers, box of chocolates and scented candles”-type romancer. Bond’s trysts usually begin with gunplay, and end with a hot tub materializing somewhere nearby.

2. Is James Bond really the most romantic impression you want to make with your wife or girlfriend? Yes, he gets the ladies, but monogamy--not his strong suit.

3. What would a scented candle infused with the essence of James Bond smell like, exactly? My guess: gun powder and testosterone—which sounds awesome for a bachelor pad but not so much for date night.

2. Transformers Toy Shaving Kit

Let’s quickly rattle off everything that makes no sense about the Transformers Shaving Kit:

1. Robots don’t shave.
2. Kids don’t shave.
3. You can’t actually shave with this kit anyway. No blade (thank goodness), so you just pretend to be your favorite Autobot and shave your face like Optimus Prime did in the movie. Oh wait.

3. Matrix Reloaded Phone

The Matrix films take place in a distant future. We don’t know how far in the future, but we do know technology has advanced enough to create underground cities, hover battleships, battle mechs, working holograms, and, of course, a completely realized virtual world. Everything about The Matrix world is high tech. The Matrix phone, however, is quite the opposite. Released in 2003, The Matrix phone did indeed look like Neo’s phone from the movie (or a cheap toy facsimile, anyway). But that’s where its usefulness ended, because The Matrix phone couldn’t take pictures or play MP3s, didn’t have Bluetooth—it was completely barren of any of the cell phone technology of the time. So it’s just a toy, right? At $500, no way. This phone was so backwards technologically, marketers might as well have produced The Matrix Abacus.

4. Twilight Condoms

The entire Twilight series/franchise is basically a heavy-handed PSA for teen abstinence. Edward refuses to deflower Bella until they are properly married and follows a supernaturally strict abstinence policy. So a Twilight condom is in direct opposition to the overarching theme of the series.

Also, vampires don’t need condoms, being dead and all. (Not until book four, anyway.)

5. Dark Vador Burger

Nobody wants to eat a burger with a black bun. Nobody. (And sales of the Dark Vador [sic] burgers attest to that fact.) But there’s a deeper problem: the Dark Vador Burger made by fast food chain Quick (a European Burger King, essentially) was launched to coincide with the premiere of The Phantom Menace. You know, the Star Wars movie in which Darth Vader is still a kid, and a hero at that.

6. The Fight Club Jacket

In a movie that calls out rampant consumerism as a societal ill emasculating and enslaving mankind, it’s a tad odd to squeeze any kind of merchandising from the title, let alone a $165 leather jacket.

7. The Passion of the Christ’s Official Nails Necklace

8. The Color Purple Teddy Bear

There is no defending this.

9. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Cereal

Making a Robin Hood cereal in the shape of arrows isn’t a terrible idea, but it isn't a great one, either. And when those arrows look very little like arrows and kids are eating bowls of suggestively-shaped cereal, you have a marketing flop.