Product tie-ins spring out of the woods
Underscoring “The Blair Witch Project’s” evolution from indie oddity to full-blown media phenomenon, Artisan has established a comprehensive licensing campaign that rivals the ones studios mount for some of their biggest pics.Unlike the studio pics, however, which usually have their marketing and merchandise campaigns well in place by the time a film opens, Artisan is launching tie-in products in the wake of the pic’s success. Licensees have come aboard in such categories as apparel, accessories, publishing, gifts/novelties and posters. Among the licensee companies are: Winterland, Onyx from Penguin Putnam, Inc., Oni Press, Another Universe, Mob Town Enterprises, GB Posters and Import Images. Cutting edge Amorette Jones, Artisan Releasing’s senior VP theatrical marketing, said, “In keeping with the cutting edge, strategic marketing campaign for ‘Blair Witch,’ we have gone to licensees known for their innovative product lines targeted to our core demographic. These licensees have developed some unique products that play into the suspense and reinforce the icons delivered in ‘The Blair Witch Project.’ ” Winterland is producing a line of T-shirts, hats, pins and candles that were made available before the film’s initial limited release. Onyx, an imprint of Penguin Putnam, has published “The Blair Witch Project: A Dossier,” which went on sale Aug. 9 and became an instant bestseller for Amazon.com. Oni Press has published an original comic book illustrating some of the stories of Blair Witch only touched on in the film. Its second printing has already sold out. Bumps in the night Import Images has produced posters that feature invisible handprints and the iconic Blair Witch stick men invisible to the purchaser until the posters are hung. Mob Town Enterprises is manufacturing a line of clothes as well as cigarette lighters and cases, flasks, incense burners, shot glasses, key chain/bottle openers, glass ashtrays and stickers. Salerno & Associates assisted Artisan in developing “The Blair Witch Project” licensing campaign.