Owner of Champion Auto Parts Brand Had No Idea Its Logo T-shirt Would Be in Tarantino Movie
Even though movie tickets cost about a zillion dollars these days, the $79 million box office haul for “Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood” still resonates as an impressive feat. While obtaining a few more bucks from the film weighs heavily on the minds of Sony/Columbia bigwigs, the brains behind the Champion auto parts brand are, apparently, pretty content. Though Brad Pitt dons a Champion logo T-shirt in the Quentin Tarantino film, Champion's parent company has not done much to cash in on the shirt's sudden popularity and has voiced no intentions of expanding it through other branded goods.
That might be because the company was caught a bit off guard. According to Chris Brathwaite, vice president of global communications and chief communications officer for Champion's parent company Tenneco, the brand didn't even know the shirt was going to be in the movie until it appeared on a poster.
"Brad Pitt can sell more t-shirts than I can, that’s for sure." https://t.co/5lxEKYA6U8
— PRWeekUS (@PRWeekUS) July 31, 2019
Combine Pitt's proven track record as a Hollywood leading man, Tarantino’s reputation as a filmmaker and fans’ overall admiration for their favorite performers’ cinematic attire, and one should not find it surprising that the movie’s inclusion of the logo T-shirt has bred immense interest in the simple garment. Some might think that Champion would be pulling out all of the stops to secure more renown through the top. However, PR Week learned from Brathwaite that Champion is doing little to capitalize on the shirt's appearance other than a few social media posts and making employees aware of the cameo.
— Champion Parts (@ChampionParts) July 30, 2019
To each his or her own, of course, but we are wondering if Champion is missing a big opportunity here. In this day and age of commercial fluidity, is the brand limiting itself to a brush with cinematic distinction by not releasing any other branded merchandise that could complement the logo T-shirt? The Esquire article alone led to triple-digit orders, so one would think that Champion might feel inclined to cash in on the viral exposure in any way it can.
It appears, though, that the brand’s unintended tie to Hollywood royalty will consist only of the logo T-shirt. This is clearly a case of “different-strokes-for-different-folks,” as we are sure that some businesses out there would try to monetize any sort of movie-related coupling however it could. With a name that conveys confidence and results, though, Champion is saying it will not be a contender for an extra adrenaline and economic rush.