Sunday, May 20, 2018
Business

HSN teams with Disney to promote 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

ST. PETERSBURG — Two merchandising wizards, HSN and Disney, have teamed up to promote Oz the Great and Powerful, which arrives in theaters March 8.

The St. Petersburg-based shopping network has spent nearly two years creating a large-scale sales event centered around the movie, a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. Employees worked with designers to develop products based on the Oz theme and created video clips about the film and its stars.

On Friday, Disney brought a hot air balloon to HSN's office in St. Petersburg to tout the partnership and build buzz for the fantasy adventure film. On Sunday, the balloon heads to Florida's East Coast for the Daytona 500, where Oz star James Franco will serve as grand marshal.

The marketing deal benefits both parties. HSN gets its name widely associated with a Disney blockbuster. Disney gets exposure to an audience likely to watch the movie: women ages 35 to 54 and mothers with PG-age children.

"What we have in common with Hollywood is that we're both story tellers," said Bill Brand, HSN's executive vice president for programming, marketing and business development. "We both inspire customers with our stories."

The partnership will culminate with a live sales event March 1 and 2 featuring 400 Oz-inspired products made just for HSN. TV hosts will pitch the Oz products nonstop for two days.

The shopping network partnered with 50 brands, including Naeem Khan, Badgley Mischka, Adrienne Landau and Steve Madden, to design jewelry, clothing, beauty products and home accessories around the fantasy movie theme. Items are grouped into collections sorted by the three Oz witches: Theodora, Evanora and Glinda. Items range from a Heidi Daus "Emerald City" crystal ring for $79.95 to a Raven Kauffman Couture Feather Bag for $395, with price points catering to the more affluent customer already loyal to the designers.

None of the products are toys.

HSN started selling the products online this week and has already sold out of a few items. In addition to buying Oz merchandise on the website, customers can watch short videos about the making of the movie, take a quiz to determine their witch style and create Pinterest board inspired by their favorite witch. It also has a link to buy movie tickets on Fandango.

"It's about creating an interesting way to shop and deepening customers' relationship with us," Brand said. "It's building one-of-a-kind experiences that they can't get elsewhere."

The Oz partnership marks HSN's fifth major movie partnership. Its first, in 2010, was Eat Pray Love, followed by The Help, Snow White and the Huntsman and Footloose.

The latest is the most extensive so far, in terms of products and number of designers with products. HSN employees visited the movie set to shoot behind-the-scene videos with filmmakers and stars and attended the premiere in Hollywood Feb. 13. Next week, HSN employees will have a private screening to familiarize themselves with the movie in order to better assist callers with questions about merchandise.

The movie events, along with HSN's live music concerts and TV show promotions, are part of the company's "entertainment integration strategy" to keep existing customers and attract new ones. Promotions like Oz lift sales, TV viewership and Web traffic, said Brand, who did not have specific numbers. The film's March release was particularly ideal because it comes during a shopping lull between Washington's Birthday and Easter, months away from Christmas.

The Oz partnership comes at a positive time for HSN. This week, the publicly traded company reported net sales for 2012 were $3.3 billion, up 6 percent from 2011, thanks largely to the success of digital sales.

At a conference last month, CEO Mindy Grossman said creating new content for online shoppers increases time spent on the site and builds customers' trust in the company and its products. HSN's free online arcade games reached 100 million game plays in the first 11/2 years.

"It's a reason for them to interact with us without us just wanting them to buy something from us," she said.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

Comments
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

TAMPA ó A decade ago, the Great Recession put Hillsborough and Pinellas countiesí efforts to grow their foreign exports on hold.But since then those efforts have returned, gained support and momentum, expanded the range of their ambition and are now ...
Published: 05/18/18
Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Floridaís economy appears to have plateaued with its unemployment rate holding at 3.9 percent for the seventh straight month, according to the April report released Friday.But some economists say it may be a good thing if the rate doesnít fall much m...
Published: 05/18/18
Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

TAMPA ó A lawsuit over the mix of residences and offices in the planned $350 million Riverwalk Place tower has been dropped.Last August, Riverwalk Tower Investment-Intown LLC, which had been expected to be one of the developers in the project, filed ...
Published: 05/18/18
Orlandoís new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

Orlandoís new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

By MIKE SCHNEIDERORLANDO ó The arms race to build new theme park attractions in Orlando is paying dividends. A new report released this week shows theme park attendance at the largest parks in North America last year was up 2.3 percent, powered by ne...
Published: 05/18/18
How Mosaicís relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

How Mosaicís relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

Tampa International covets a nonstop flight to S„o Paulo, Brazil. Mosaic Co, which is moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County, has huge holdings in the country, including several mines. Could Mosaicís relocation help TIA realize its dream? It ...
Published: 05/18/18
Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

HOLIDAY ó A year ago this month, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts announced plans for its first-ever RV park, near Tarpon Springs where the Anclote River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.The $35 million resort, named after the popular Jamaican marine artist...
Published: 05/18/18
American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

MIAMI ó A gigantic $4 billion retail and entertainment complex won government approval Thursday after years of debate, greenlighting what promises to be the largest mall in North America, just a few miles from the environmentally sensitive Everglades...
Published: 05/18/18