Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper Pens 50 Shades of Commerce

By on February 11, 2015
50 Shades

Sydney, Australia- John Elder, Senior Reporter for the Sunday Age writes up the commercial aspect of 50 Shades of Grey for Australian adult retailers.

When an audience starts shifting in its seat at the movies, it usually means they’re bored. In the case of B&D love story Fifty Shades of Grey, it could well be a sign that the merchandising tie-ins – the product line officially endorsed by Fifty Shades author E.L. James – are selling splendidly.
As David Ross, spokesman for the Club X chain, observes: “There’s going to be a lot of sore bums out there… in a nice way.”

Club X and Sexyland are the two Victorian retailers to adopt the official Fifty Shades line of products, including the Sweet Sting Riding Crop, the Please Sir Flogger and the Twitchy Palm Satin Spanking Paddle.

Mr Ross says that when the first Fifty Shades of Grey book – one of three that have collectively sold a total of 100 million copies – was published in 2011, local sex shops were caught on the hop. As soccer mums by their thousands looked for a new kind of warm glow “we sold out of kegel balls, whips, paddles, masks and restraints,” Mr Ross says. This time “we’re madly putting posters out, stocking up, sending out invitations to the movie… we’re really getting behind it. We’re going to milk it for all it’s worth”.

Rival merchants, who haven’t signed on with the official products, are also cashing in. Go to any sex toy website, enter “50 Shades” into the search engine, and the retailer’s regular line of slap and tickle instruments will pop up cheekily.

Gerrard Giummarra is the managing director of Wild Secrets, an online affair that offers a fetish line “inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey”. These include products that were around from before E L James put pen to paper and others that cheekily skirt copyright infringement.
Says Mr Giummarra: “Fifty Shades offered us the line and we knocked it back and that was because of the price point. With Fifty Shades, you’re going to pay $19 for a satin black mask; we sell ours for $8. Our position is that we have similar products at half the price and twice the quality.”

None of this bothers Rob Godwin, founder of the Brisbane-based Love Group and Australian distributor of the Fifty Shades line. He believes the market can survive the pirates. “It’s like Coca-Cola and the poor imitation Home Brand. Let them do that. There’s enough demand for everyone.”
Mr Godwin has been in the “pleasure products” industry for 12 years. “There has never been a bigger brand than Fifty Shades. Number two is so far behind it doesn’t matter.”

Two and a half years ago, Mr Godwin quit as the head of Sexpo to start the Love Group, with the sole intention of cornering the Fifty Shades market. In the lead up to the movie, which opens on Thursday, “we’ve just done six weeks worth of trading in one week”. The Love Group will host premiere invitation-only screenings in Sydney and Melbourne, followed by all-night B&D parties. With two sequels to follow, Godwin is hoping the Fifty Shades honeymoon won’t end for some years.

What is it his customers are really looking for? What does any kid want from a Spongebob Squarepants toy? To re-live different moments from the movie.

Author- John Elder, Sunday Age.–ringing-tills-no-slapdash-affair-as-demand-outstrips-supply-in-places-20150207-138ka7.html

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