Fifty Shades Darker will leave an indelible mark on 2017, and Jim Primrose is sure that its impact will be felt far beyond its theatrical run. Lovehoney’s International Sales Manager believes that the phenomenon will retain its influence for years to come. The Fifty Shades brand is so deeply ingrained in people’s minds that it has taken on a life of its own, as Jim explains in our interview.
Has the excitement around ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ already subsided or will it last a few more months?
Jim Primrose: Our customers have been reporting tremendous success on the run up and since the movie. While the movie was released in February this year, fans are going to start becoming excited about the digital release of the movie in April and DVD release in May. And just when you think that it will go quiet, there will be the third instalment of the franchise. It’s non-stop! We expect the momentum to build and build therefore over the rest of 2017. Fifty Shades is going nowhere!
Would you agree that the first Fifty Shades movie has caused far more furore than the second?
The first film was a phenomenon, no doubt about it. It was unprecedented in terms of the numbers of people as well as media outlets and retailers jumping onto the trend. The Darker Movie smashed the box office figures of the original, post media coverage was off the scale too. The Fifty Shades phenomenon continues to introduce new consumers to the category of BDSM increasing footfall into stores with online traffic within the category showing incredible activity too. With the next movie release on Valentines 2018, this trend is set to continue.
How satisfied is Lovehoney with the results of ‘Fifty Shades Darker’?
We have seen the positive impact from both sides, from Lovehoney Retail and also Lovehoney Trade. We have invested more than ever on a global scale to support some of the industry’s best activity. Retailers everywhere have identified the opportunity and have worked with our Trade team on bespoke activities to support their business, cinema advertising & events, outstanding window displays, in store merchandising, staff training to name but a few. We are already in discussions with many of them in connection with the next movie. We are extremely pleased with the results.
As you know, there are many Fifty Shades inspired products. How important is the fact that Lovehoney is the licensee for the official products?
Lovehoney are recognised for launching official licensed brands, this is set to continue with many new collections launching in 2017 – watch this space! The Fifty Shades collections from Lovehoney carry the official endorsement of author E L James. The value of this can’t be underestimated. The modern consumer will not settle for poor imitations, they buy into a brand whatever that may be, and Fifty Shades is no different.
The erotic market has, of course, profited considerably from the Fifty Shades phenomenon. Did the second movie also provide positive impetus?
Lovehoney Trade team has never been busier out in the stores. Working in collaboration with our distribution network and key retailers more than ever before. Retailers and distributors from all over the world wanted to speak to us about the products and what we could do for them in terms of official brand support. We see this as a partnership and we are very proud to be associated with a phenomenon that has supported our industry in so many different ways.
Has the market in your opinion sufficiently prepared for the buzz around the second movie and was able to use the full potential of ‘Fifty Shades Darker’?
Another interesting question. How does one prepare for a phenomenon? In the most part, retailers and distributors were well prepared with sufficient stock. This supported with some of the best point of sale materials available to create Fifty Shades branded areas in store, also more retail staff attended brand and product training sessions, www.lovehoneytrade.com provided the stores with official logos, and education materials, videos etc. All of these things delivered massively positive results. What none of us can prepare for is when an individual product or products catch the eye, e.g. Fifty Shades Inner Goddess Silver Balls sales increased by over 600% on the week of the movie – it is impossible to plan for that, the smart retailers and distributors who carry the entire collection capitalised and sold an alternative Fifty Shades product.
Lovehoney has launched new collections and products especially for the second movie. How will you continue the marketing and product development from now on?
In terms of marketing, we see a huge potential to market our products again in April and May this year as the digital and DVD version of the movie will come out. – this will include the “Unmasked” version, which features more sex scenes and footage. We think that everyone will be talking about it for months to come and will be looking at these sex scenes for inspiration in the bedroom. Retailers can look to benefit from the inevitable media interest and talkability around the new footage. Anyone that follows sex toy developments will know that Fifty Shades is rarely out of the news – and it’s becoming more and more commonplace for celebrities to discuss their love of all things kink.
There will most likely be a third movie, but what comes next? Will Fifty Shades fall into oblivion as has been the case with many pop phenomena?
We can confirm there will be a third movie, Fifty Shades Freed, this has already been filmed and will be released Valentines 2018. Lovehoney are already working on some very exciting projects with this in mind – watch this space! It is important to remember, Fifty Shades has inspired a revolution in attitudes to sex and the phenomena is here to stay. The books and movies have inspired first time users to try pleasure products and the brand has become the signpost brand for the BDSM category, particularly for new users. It is also important to note that the collection of Fifty Shades sex toys sell on their own merit as some of the best quality available for the price. The brand is ingrained within people’s psyches and is here to stay.