The Hunger Games trilogy has long had a ravenous young fan base across the world, and with a movie adaptation premiering on March 23, Lionsgate Films knows just how to sell more tickets: create an alternate reality fashion magazine, “Capitol Couture,” that fully supports and supplements the movie's plot and characters. It’s the perfect dose of original content and sustained interaction for those who felt a void upon completing all three installments of The Hunger Games series.
In the futuristic Capitol, over-the-top fashion is central to a character's identity — even the Tributes fighting in the Hunger Games have assigned “stylists.” Followers of the trilogy are waiting with bated breath to see which designers will appear on-screen this March, and Capitol Couture heightens that anticipation by including the likes of Rodarte, Alexander McQueen, Mugler and Dior in the magazine’s feature articles.
It's a genius marketing tactic. One that's engaging for both readers and advertisers alike, subtly packaging ads as entertainment — no overt pop-ups or pleas for clicks here.
Also included on the contributors list? You. In "Citizen Activity," user-generated content (mostly clever GIFs) is selected and sourced, linking back to the users’ personal Tumblrs. Further, "Profiles" of book characters, like Cinna and Effie, give readers even more background than was provided in the book. The "Guides" section includes a Capitol nail-embellishment how-to, sponsored by none other than China Glaze nail lacquer.
Most significantly, the entire website is built on a Tumblr platform so individuals can easily share and repost the magazine, effectively spreading an advertiser's name and product further and further along into each passionate fan's personal cyber world.
Actual direct-mail collateral (Capitol Couture business cards, T-shirts) was sent out to early-adopters who provided their email and mailing addresses in anticipation of the Capitol Couture launch. Within the collateral were passwords that lent recipients access to the site in advance of its official launch — which was kicked off by the fictitious Capitol's twitter handle @TheCapitolPN.
And if you've got an extra keen eye, you might have noticed the domain is ".pn," an homage to the country of Panem. Now if that's not a fully-baked idea, I don't know what is.
The Capitol Couture magazine is just one slice of The Hunger Games marketing pie (also developed: The Capitol's "government website") that allows users to feel a deeper connection to the characters in a way that text alone could not provide. Not only that, but the sites are sustainable and can be built upon as the sequels are released next Fall and Summer.