|Once again last week, I found myself face-to-face with Universal Studios in my local grocery store. While not as humorous as finding the Hulk on a box of Nilla Wafers, I still was struck by the image of Mike Meyers, mugging at me in his Cat in the Hat costume - from the front of a package of "Lunchables Deep Dish Pizza Mega Pack". So, I decided to find out what other marketing tie-ins This Cat had in his Hat, and an evening of surfing Amazon, Yahoo Shops, Froogle, and Google resulted in this page, a list of over 300 Cat in the Hat Movie product tie-ins found online in just a few days. While I'm not against merchandising in general, I've found it an enlightening experience to enumerate, in detail, the magnitude of a modern Motion Picture Marketing Machine.|
- Update 11/22/03 So I went to see the movie - after all this obsessive research, how could I not? I was expecting an avalanche of product placement, but there really wasn't much at all. For the whole review (if interested), click here. Oh, and another couple of items found yesterday: Cat in the Hat Pin, Tote Bag, Things Tumbler, Fishbowl Toothbrush Holder, and a Trashcan. Oh, and a box of Fruit Snacks, some Pajamas, Pajamas II, a Beach Towel, a Towel/Washcloth Set, a pair of Boxers, a Sticker Set with Case, a Pin, another Pin, and a scarf, a Bobblehead Pen, and a toothbrush.
- Update 12/9/03, some more items I had to list: Swim Vests: Omni, KiddieSafe, a Cat-Shaped Sleeping Bag, some Soft Balls, a Playball, a Resin PiggyBank, Water Globe, Pendulum Clock, Bobblehead, some Onesie Jammies, Toothpaste (with toothbrush), sunglasses, Popcorn, Fleece Hoodie, and the Cat in the Hat Personal Digital Assistant. And also, a very Disturbing Talking fish & cat, a 3D notebook & pen, a Cat Head Backpack, a Set of 4 Mugs, a Sweatsuit, some Men's Lounge Pants, and an Organizer/Agenda Book.
Every link on this page (except the first one) is tied directly to the 2003 Movie Release as "Official Merchandise". None of the links refer to the bulk of older products already tied to the long-existing Dr. Suess Book.
"The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss was first published as a children's book in 1957. Now Universal Studios, Dreamworks Pictures and Dr. Suess Enterprises bring us the Cat in the Hat - the Movie. The official Merchandise List is very general, without a lot of online linkage, but it does hint at what was found and listed below.
Two large tie-ins that aren't actual products are the Universal Studios Themepark ride, and an interesting marketing deal with the US Post Office.
Books & Music:
Long the mainstay of most movies - "the Book" has now grown to "the Books". There is of course the Cat in the Hat Storybook, the Official Movie Book, the children's Little Golden Book, the Novelization of the movie, and the accompanying Junior Novelization. There is also a two-CD Audio Book, a Big Sticker Book, a Watercolor Paint Book, an Activity Book, a Spinoff Flap Book, a Early Reader Book, a Paperback Spinoff (Fish's Tale), an educational Silly Cookbook, another educational LeapPad Reading Book. And - for something soothing to listen to with your reading - the Motion Picture Soundtrack, or the Holiday Compilation CD. And, of course, the electronic activity books - the Play-A-Sound Book, Wipe-Off Talking Activity Book, and the Cat in the Hat Flips His Lid Movie Sound Book.
Hungry? Hope so - there's a smorgasboard of goodies. Starting with Cat Snacks! Next, of course is Oscar Mayer's Lunchables, and the Kellogg's Cat in the Hat Central or Kellogg's Corn Pops HatCheck. You can find toys in your cereal boxes - specifically Thing 1 and Thing 2 plush toys in Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, Cocoa Krispies, and Rice Krispies, Look forward to having Limited Edition Cat in the Hat Cereal and Pop Tarts, and more Kellogg's Pop Tarts. Better get a Candy Dish (or a Candy Dipper), you'll need a big one: Hershey's and others bring you Cat in the Hat Bubble Yum, Kit Kat Miniatures, Kit Kat Snack Size, Reese's Peanut Butter Miniatures, Reese's Pieces Cane, Reese's Miniatures Cane, Hershey's Kisses, Hershey's Kisses Pull Back Cane, Jolly Rancher Jolly Books, Sour Gummies & Cotton Candy, Gummi Bears in Tins, Candy Fish Push Puppet, Cake & Cake supplies, Jelly Pops, Spin Pops, Gummy Fish, and customized Movie Twirl Lollipops and gumballs in a Gumball Machine. Wash it all down with a BellyWasher (or a Pepsi).
Tools for Consumables:
You'll need some assistance eating all of that, so here we bring you a set of Lollipop Covers, a Soft Sided Lunchbox, a Nylon Lunch Bag, and a 3-piece Dinnerware Set. Accessorize with a Flatware Set, a Baby Fork & Spoon set, a Dinner Plate, Kraft SpoonNoodler, Bowl, and Tumbler. Need more options for drinking? Here you go: a Spinning Action Tumbler, Twist Straw Tumbler, Sculpted Sports Bottle, Action Canteen, Twin Sip Tumbler, Sports Tumbler, and last, but oddly not least, a Stadium Cup.
Contests, Sweeps, Giveaways:
Many folks are eager to give things away related to this Seussical Motion Picture, starting with the Universal Studios Sweepstakes [trip to Universal Orlando Resort]. You can also win a trip with the Mastercard contest. Kellogg's gets props for a themed contest - the Clean Room For a Year Contest. A lot of people let you try to win tickets, including the Kellogg's Out of the Hat Sweeps. Battery Company Rayovac's tie-in is the $1 million "Win this thing or that" Instant Win Game. Smuckers and Jif Peanut Butter want you to look for numbers on their jars and play their Ring Ring FunNumber Thing to try and win movie tickets. Pepsi/Sierra Mist/Lay's Stax Sweeps is giving away a $10,000 shopping spree and Hershey's wants to give you a second chance for a trip to Orlando in their Hershey's Sweepstakes. Procter & Gamble's Good Clean Fun Sweepstakes is giving away a $50,000 grand prize, and Purina Canada is giving away over $30,000 in prizes. Tere are some Freebies as well - from Procter & Gamble, Rayovac, and Ralph's Stores.
Why should Humans get all the fun? It is a movie about a Cat right (albeit a severely anthropomorphized cat)? Other than this Fiber Optic Fishbowl and Starter Fishbowl kit, we have (mostly from PetCo) some #1 Premium Maximum Potency Top Grade Catnip, Scrumptious Shrimp Snacks All Natural Cat Treats, and Tuna Chips & Bits All Natural Cat Treats. Dress your pet with a Pet Kerchief & Charm Set, and lay them down on a Striped Hat Crinkle Bed. Toys for cats? No problem: Fun Ball Cat Toy with Catnip, Streamer Dangler for Cats, and a Fish Dangler for Cats. Toys for Dogs, got them too: Fido Fish Pal for Dogs, Bungee Buddy for Dogs, Plushy Pal for Dogs, Ring Pal for Dogs, Hat Bone for Dogs, Easy Fetch Tennis Balls for Dogs, and a Canvas Chew Toy.
Let's dress the part as well. Firstly, the Hats: There is the traditional stripey Stovepipe Hat, a high-tech Fiber Optic Hat, the Super-Sproingy Hat and a luxurious Velvet Hat. Non-stripey hats include a Black and Red Baseball Cap, a Youth Embroidered Beanie, an Embroidered Blue Baseball Cap, and a Youth Toboggan Hat. For Fun Footwear, try these light-up Tennis Shoes or Black Boots, and wear them with your Jogging Suit. Keep warm with your Fleece Sweater, Blanket sleeper with Hat, or a Red and White Scarf, Kids Red Gloves, Kids Blue Beanie and Glove Set, Kids Teal Gloves, or some FishBowl Wristbands and, of course Boxer Shorts and a Laundry Hamper. Basic Tees are available too: the T-Shirt "Cat", and T-Shirt "Entrance", and matching underwear. Keep time any way you like with your Digital Watch Cat Face Digital Watch (Cat), Digital Watch (Cat/Lunch Box Blue), Digital Watch (Cat/Lunch Box Stripey), Cat & Kids Analog Watch, or a Changeable-face Digital Watch, and take your time with the Cat in the Hat Dress-Up Set or costume. Or you could bail and just get the Camisole and Thong underwear, oh and a Tattoo.
Ready for Christmas Eve?
Get Ready with some Tights, Pajamas, Slippers, a Snuggle Blanket, an Alarm Clock, some Wrapping Paper, Christmas Stockings , ( 2, 3, 4), and a Christmas Stocking Holder. Also have on hand a Nutcracker, Wall Clock, Umbrella, FM Radio, Lanyard, Shoe Laces, Shrinky Dinks, Playhouse, Air Freshener, 8-foot tall inflatable Cat, and a Snow Globe. And don't forget the ornaments - choose from Cat/Things, Cleaning Machine, Toychest, Assorted, or a Mini Cat. Or if you prefer Glass ornaments, there's Cat & Things, Cat/Things, Cat/House, Cat/Fish, or Cat Glass Ball.
Why just dress yourself and your pet? Your house needs some work too. Once you cross over your outdoor Cat in the Hat Mat, imagine your rooms decked out with this Telephone, Fish Pillow, Plush Hat Pillow, Thing 1 Cuddle Pillow, Thing 2 Cuddle Pillow, Wooden Lamp, Photo Frame, Wooden Toy Chest, Wooden Step Stool, set of Wooden Bookends, or Wooden Picture Frame. Set up your Bathroom in style with this Toothbrush Holder Set, Soap Dish, Soap Dispenser Soakie, Bath Set, Bath Rug, Towel Set, Bathtub Crayon Set and Shower Hooks. Your bed can get the entire treatment with a Comforter, Coverlet, Bed Skirt, Sheet Set, Sham, Fleece blanket, Pouf Valance, Toss Pillow, and Pillow. Dress the walls with posters - like this Mike Meyers Poster, Cat Poster I, Cat Poster II, or Cat Poster III, or even a sticker or calendar (or this other calendar).
Lots of Cat in the Hat toys of course, Get on your Bicycle and let's go! From the Play House and Sleeping Bag to the puzzles and Games: the official Videogame (and Strategy Guide), board game of Cat in the Hat-Opoly, the other Movie Board Game, a Foam Floor Puzzle, a Jigsaw Puzzle, a Wooden Puzzle Set, and a Cube Puzzle with Case.
General toys include Walkie Talkies
Talking Fish in the Pot,
PVC Figurines 7 Piece with Car,
Thing 1 and Thing 2 with Sound,
Cat in the Hat in Hat with Sound,
Cat in the Hat Puppet with Sound,
Talking Cat in the Hat,
Jumbo Wall Stick Ups, and
Self Stick Wall Border. Some figures include the
Bendable Figures 5 Piece,
Cat Bendable Figure,
Thing 1 Bendable Figure,
Thing 2 Bendable Figure,
Conrad Bendable Figure, and
Sally Bendable Figure. Then there's a
Stamper Set 7 Piece, a
Magnetic Play Center, a
Cat and Fish Stamper Set, a
Thing 1 and Thing 2 Stamper Set, and a
Cat and Kids Stamper Set. Don't forget about the
Cat Plush Puppet, the
Bendable Clip-On Keychain, the
Thing 1 Thing 2 Child's Back Pack, the
Child's Back Pack, or
Plush Back Pack, or
Flight Bag, or
Rolling Flight Bag, or
Bi-Fold Wallet, or the
Messenger Bag either. You can find
Movie Cards, a
Rubber Ball, a
Clip Watch, a
Time Teachers Watch Set
, some more
Finger Puppets, and a
Play Along Stuffed Cat with Video. Radio Shack offers a
S.L.O.W. Radio Controlled Vehicle, a ZipZap Micro Remote Controlled kit and a
Fish Flashlight. Something ailing you? How about a box of
Curad Adhesive Bandages, or a nice soothing Bath with a choice of sets, Bubbling Bath Set, with Bubble Bath, Cat in the Hat Bath Pouf, Foaming Body Soap, Giant Bath Fizzie, Bath Soap Crayon, Puzzle Mat, or a
Bubble Buddies Kit - Includes 1 Cat in the Hat loofah, 1 Cat in the Hat bubble bottle, and 1 Cat in the Hat squirter toy, or - a
Giant Bubbling Bath Tote with Cat in the Hat Bubble bath, Foaming body soap, Bath pouf, Giant bath fizzie and Inflatable bath toy.
We continue with a
Wooden stacking toy, a
Cat Bobblehead, a set of
Mt. Dew Snow Globe Bottle Toppers, a pair of
Thing 1 & Thing 2 Bobbleheads, a pair of
Thing 1 & Thing 2 Talking Toys, a
Colorforms Playset, and a set of
Giant Eraser Pencils. Finally we end up with a comforting
Night Light, another
Nightlight Tap Light, and some bubble fun with a
Mini No Spill Bubble Tumbler, a
Glitter Dome Bubble Maker, and a
Dancing Bubble Blower. Oh, and an Antenna Topper, a
mini-book keychain, a
Memo Book a
Liquid Filled USB Computer Mouse, a
Laser stickers Set,
and a set of Booklights.
Additional non-linked tie-ins:
General (sighted, but no linkable items found):
Procter and Gamble (Home Care division):
So yes, I did go to see the film, on Friday, Opening Night, In a large Theater in a Large City (Seattle). The auditorium I was in for the 9pm showing had a capacity of over 600... there were 30 people there, and a couple walked out mid-movie as well. Overall I'd rate the movie at about a 1.5 out of 5. The visuals were impressive, the kids were cute, and the movie was not outright evil, as some might claim. However, the Cat character ranged from creepy to weird to unfunny to forced-charming, sometimes in a matter of seconds. There wasn't much endearing about anything. Alec baldwin was fun to watch, but that's about it, everything else just really fell flat more than anything.
Since this entire page is about corporate involvement, let's focus on that a moment - $8.25 for admission, $6.00 for a small soda and some candy. For that, I get the movie, plus the following pre-show experience: One Coca-Cola-sponsored short film. One semi-funny Cellular Phone public-service advertisement from Cingular Wireless. One advertisement for Fandango. One advertisement for Cat in the Hat and Loew's Theaters Gift Cards, One filmed-for-television advertisement for NBC and Discovery Kids' Trading Spaces show, One advertisement for a GI Joe Toy Set with a free GI Joe animated-film DVD. And then the previews - one for Chasing Liberty, one for Cheaper by the Dozen, one for Shrek 2, one for Home on the Range, one for Agent Cody Banks 2, and one for Peter Pan. All in all, that's a dozen advertisements from over 20 different companies that were shown prior to the start of the movie.
As far as product placement - the only things I noticed were the above-mentioned Ford Focus/Thunderbird, Hummer H2, and Palm Pilot, also there were some barely-recognizable products, like Miller Lite Beer, and some KitchenAid appliances. There were, however, two very very blatant plugs in the film. Even with a nod and a wink, they still thud. For one, the Cat stops in mid-mayhem, the music cuts, and he mugs for the camera with a pair of tickets to Universal Studios Theme Park in his paw "Something like Universal Studios Tours?" he says to the camera, snickers, then carries on. The other, an aside to the camera again, comes after a musical piece - Smashmouth singing the Beatles song "It's Getting Bettter", while the Cat and Things clean house. Meyers/Cat says "always good to work a up-tempo piece into the film, y'know for the soundtrack".
My overall impression is that the movie will likely have no legs, certainly has no timeless appeal, and a lot of unpurchased Cat poducts may fill the bargain bins soon - or maybe not - just because the movie stinks, doesn't mean the toys aren't cool, and the Cat has been around for a long time before the Movie.
None of these products belongs to me. Yet. I'm on the lookout for the "Cat Snacks" cookies though.