Sex, The City & All That Merchandise

Sex And The City 2
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Sex And The City 2

The huge expectations for "Sex & The City 2"are truly a testament to the power of the female consumer. And that means a range of consumer product companies are waiting to cash in on the film's debut this weekend.

The long-running HBO series chronicled Carrie Bradshaw and her best friends, but perhaps more than anything, it gave ordinary American women a window into a chic, couture-filled lifestyle.

Yes the 2008 movie was a surprise box office hit. But perhaps most notably, the show and the film inspired the ultimate aspirational consumption, serving up products to lust after.

What better way for a brand to reach women than in the arms of style icon Carrie (aka Sara Jessica Parker)? Her (and her friends') cool-factor turned a horseshoe-shaped necklace or a cupcake into a nation-wide hit. Companies jumped on the huge potential for product placement —whether it's paid (companies rarely go into the details) or a brand investing millions to promote the movie in conjunction with its product.

The list of brands in the film is long:Skyy vodka is returning after an evidently successful turn in the first film. LVMH's Moet Hennessy Champagne is featured as the celebratory spirit of choice, joining the cast for the first time. And yes, Carrie's ubiquitous laptop in the TV show makes an appearance—Apple doesn't pay for product placement but it does provide product to the set.

Now Hewlett-Packard is trying to snag some of the attention the Macbook earned as Carrie's computer in the series. HP has a series of computers designed for women, and partnering with Sex & The City 2 seemed like a natural way to reach their upscale tech-savvy computer.

The Vivian Tam-designed "digital clutch" — i.e. colorful laptop — that's featured in the film, is already sold out. HP won't reveal how much it's paying for its computer monitors to be featured in Samantha's Manhattan office, but it is spending millions of dollars on an ad campaign featuring Sarah Jessica Parker as a spokesperson, promoting the products and the film.

Mercedes also has a Sex & The City themed ad campaign right now. Four of the automakers models are featured in the film (one for each of the friends), and it has a flashy campaignpromoting its role and the alliance between Mercedes and the taste-makers in the movie. (This fits with Mercedes sponsorship of Fashion week in New York).

But companies don't even have to have a role in the film to shell out millions on promotional ad campaigns. Macy's may be a far cry from the Bergdorf Goodman where Carrie shops, but it struck a major marketing deal with the film. The Sex & The City brand is emblazoned in Macy's store windows, in print and newspaper campaigns, and Macy's even hosted a sweepstakes for tickets to the film's premiere.

The styles of the film are already part of a Middle Eastern-inspired fashion trend this summer. And New Line (the Time Warner-owned studio behind the film) fully understands the power of that. The movie's web site and Facebook page allow shoppers to browse the outfits in the film, directing them to buy affordable versions of Carrie's clothes and accessories.

Talk about consumers wanting to keep up with the (Samantha) Jonses.

Questions? Comments?