“In-World” Advertising: Capitol Couture

I was reminded recently of the brilliant work of Lionsgate’s in-house digital team. Inspired by this Buzzfeed article, my mind has been wandering about the future possibilities of the “in-world” advertising surrounding the release The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 10.25.25 PMWe all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, something exclusive. Exclusivity defines luxury, and it is regularly employed by brands in order to spark desire. The brands found in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar play off of this exclusivity, creating trends that only the fashion-savvy will know and appreciate. Sure, this is a regular occurence in the world of fashion, but it is rare to find in the advertising for a blockbuster summer hit such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. This only makes Lionsgate even more genius for their “Capitol Couture” campaign. Instead of using the familiar faces of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, the Capitol Couture billboards aim to transport you into the superficial world of the elites who live in The Capitol of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian world. Someone who had not read the books or had not seen the first movie would see the billboards as real, albeit crazy, high fashion advertisements.

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 10.24.40 PMThat’s the point. It is not designed to attract new fans, but to engage the current diehard Hunger Games fans and encourage them to interact further with the brand. The advertisements direct you to a gorgeous website that only hints at the main characters of the franchise–a curious move, seeing as celebrities are easy advertising when it comes to films.

The “Capitol Couture” campaign arose after complaints of the “cheap” portrayal of the dystopian city tainted the first movie. In a move to win back the dissatisfied diehard fans, Lionsgate chose to prove that they could do luxury, and do it well.

In further effort to make the city seem real, the website is home to actual fashion contributors, handpicked by the Lionsgate team to showcase their “Capitol worthy” designs. What better way to tie in the luxury of the fashion industry than to actually tap into the network of fashion designers themselves? Further interaction is available on the website, offering fans another medium to delve into the world of The Hunger Games.

What I find most interesting about this campaign is that it does not attempt to draw in the inexperienced. It makes no stab at bringing a new audience to the Hunger Games franchise, which, in Hollywood, seems to be a waste of time.The few main characters shown on the website are portrayed as just that–the characters, not the actors and actresses; imagine that the resident Capitol fashion house chose Katniss as the face of its new campaign, not Jennifer Lawrence. They could not have done a better job bringing the user into the Hunger Games world–or at least into the world of the rich and famous.

The “Capitol Couture” website is found on the traditional movie website, and has released three “issues” since its creation. I can only hope they reintroduce the idea in the promotions for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay!

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