The fan-boys were frothing ever since production had begun on a movie based on this lesser, though still venerated, character from the DC Comics universe. In fact the casting of Ryan Reynolds did not bring instant derision from the die-hards, so there was hope this could become a major franchise for Warner Brothers. An initial trailer was released back in last November to middling reception. Then everyone waited. Soon rumblings of unease began.
As the calendar flipped fans waited for the marketing to ramp up but there was a delay. The effects-laden, 3-D projection was said to be undergoing extensive technical work, causing the studio to hold off on promotions In the past few months Warners seemed to be making up for the lost time, overloading the public with advertising and promotions to such a level many longed for those days of limited exposure. The rumors have swirled that the $150 million budget was doubled with all the promotional pushes.And it has led to a measure of backlash, including the non-comic fans finding the cast of characters to be somewhat odd and distancing.
Many have been critical of not only the saturation of ads, but also the blatant product placements in the film. One marketing partner was Hot Wheels, and the toy car brand ran spots featuring the title character using his ring to simulate a Hot Wheels race track in real world conditions. This was done in an effort to promote their tie-in Green Lantern racing set, and branded toy vehicles (including a couple of versions of movie partner Dodge’s Challenger nameplate). But many were slightly disgusted to realize the ostentatious display in the commercial turned out in fact to be an actual scene in the film. It was as subtle as head-shot from Kilowog.
Of course, with any super hero release the toys came out in a flood. But these too have had a harder time than expected finding purchase in the imagination of tykes. Many of the foreign-looking creatures are odd, mutated, endomorphic beings that hardly beg to be taken down from the peg board and freed from their blister-pack cells. More likely they look like something the dog will have dug up in the back yard.
But if these freaks of CGI nature make you distasteful that runs counter to the balance of the licensing for the movie. Putting fans off their appetite seems a poor decision given there is a remarkable amount of food tie-ins with the title. One of the reasons we have become inundated with Green Lantern imagery lately is the almost obsessive amount of commercials run by fast-food partner Subway. The sandwich chain used a two pronged effort for their partnership. First, they incorporated the film into their kid’s meals, employing their usual reusable bags with graphics from the release.
Secondly they used the occasion of the film’s release to promote the arrival of guacamole to their stores as a new sandwich ingredient. You see, guacamole is green, the hero in the film is green – that’s synergy! And very, very forced. But whatever; I’m not a Madison Avenue marketing genius, so who am I to complain? They are also running a sweepstakes during the promotion and you could win a new car from promotional partner Dodge. More synergy.
Then of course when you have a product that is green already you can repurpose it. Behold, Green Lantern Glo-Balls, by Hostess. Frankly the Anthony Weiner scandal has about tapped out this nation’s ability to withstand any more double-entendres with names such as this, so I’ll withhold on all the obvious cracks that this begs to be made. Hostess makes a variety of these cakes in colors specific to various holidays, so just try to pretend these are not the “Lucky Puffs” that are found around the St. Patrick’s Day period.
And hey, since this green connection seems to be the way to go, why not bring Lipton in on the proceedings? They have an expanding line of drinks under their Brisk label, and wouldn’t you know it, they have a new flavor that incorporates – are you ready? – Green Tea! It’s just so perfect. I’ve seen a tag line suggesting you could now drink like The Green Lantern (a dream of many a would-be hero, for sure.) And for the record, The Green Lantern tends to prefer his green tea with mango and dragonfruit added.
Although, I am a little bit dubious about that proclamation about what our bling-laden hero prefers to imbibe. I mean I don’t doubt that he has a hankering for some fruit-infused herbal tea concoctions from time to time, but don’t tell me that is his drink of choice, not when I have also seen him touting the benefits of drinking milk. The milk council has a FLASH-intensive website, www.lanternworthy.com, where you can take a series challenges to find out if you are up to The Lantern’s physical standards. My woman has commanded I spend as much time as possible there in the hopes I can achieve a Reynolds-like physique. She has even taken to buying the milk now with a green cap on it.
While missing out on the green color connection Frito Lays gets in on the consumables bandwagon by having the movie primed on bags of its snack chips, including Doritos, Fritos, and Lays potato chips. (Hey, sometimes you get a green chip in a bag of those!)
Ok, we have not gotten the image of the Canadian star on enough foodstuffs yet. Anyone else up for it? Ah, Reeses will join in the fray. They will also be holding a contest where eaters can win a trip aboard a jet fighter. Also to help you filter through all the gallery of misshapen creatures depicted in this CGI fantasy each wrapper will contain the biography of one of up to 30 characters. I think a pronunciation guide would have helped as well, for those named Naut Ke Loi, and the like.
And the onslaught of Lantern digestibles is not confined to our continent. One of the most intriguing food tie-in products is not found on our shores. The Krispy Kreme donut chain has developed a wholly unique product specifically for the film. But, as has been their practice (the company also made themed donuts for “Hop” available in Mexico) these are mostly found in the Orient. It is bizarre in appearance, with flavors wrapped in mystery. It looks scary as hell while at the same time filling one with wonder and curiosity. It is made of chocolate dough, filled with more chocolate filling, and then topped with a green jelly of indiscriminate flavor.
So you have a belly filled with products across a range of questionable food segments — what’s the next thing to do? Get your bloated carcass strapped into the newest theme park ride, The Green Lantern Coaster. The Six Flags Company unveiled their newest rides at two of their amusement parks to coincide with the film. It is a unique setup in that riders are anchored in the car while standing up.
After all of that eating you certainly will have only one thing left to do, and that is cough up all those products after the dizzying ride. However this may also be a part of the promotional process. After purging your stomach you are likely to leave behind a fetid pile that closely resembles the toy of the main nemesis Parallax.