'Hunger Games' And Beauty: Grading The Alliance

In the latest Hobnobbing, we ask experts about Lionsgate's style-centric marketing efforts.

"The Hunger Games is the most public, prestigious event of the year in Panem. Cleanliness, dress and comportment offer an opportunity to affirm District pride and Capitol loyalty." This according to teal-tressed Panem talk-show host Caesar Flickerman, whose sound bite appears on the new "Hunger Games" Tumblr Capitol Couture, which saw its soft launch Wednesday. (Use the password "#lookyourbest" to login.)

The site is touted as the "one place to turn for all the tips, tricks and trends you need to look your best" and features a fresh image of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) flaunting her trademark, flamboyant style — purple lips, pink hair and all. And though the page is a bit barren at the moment, we expect it to brim with fanciful headlines like "Cinna's 10 Tips for Fiery Eyes" and "Effie's Favorite Capitol Colour" very soon.

Of course, District 12's tight-lipped mentor isn't just the face of the new Web property; she's also the "spokeswoman" for the aforementioned Capitol Colours, a new line of District-themed nail polishes launched by China Glaze, and yet another entry in Lionsgate's style-centric marketing campaign, which has raised a few eyebrows (perfectly plucked and otherwise) among ardent fans.

At first blush, it seems a bit of an odd pairing, considering we are talking about a book series focusing on teens fighting to the death in front of a live television audience. Who cares about your manicure when you may die tomorrow from a tracker jacker sting? Not to mention, the story's protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is more than a little cynical of the Capitol's lust for beauty and perfection. As such, we decided to check in with a few "Hunger Games" fans/experts to see what they think of Lionsgate's sleek campaign.

"I'll admit to being a little confused at first," said The Hob admin Michelle Andreani. "It did seem to feed into the book's criticism of superficiality and elitism, and after reading about Katniss struggling in District 12, it's hard to find the Capitol's luxury, well, luxurious. But that doesn't make the Capitol's citizens, and especially their fashion, any less intriguing. And taking a deeper look into that world is sure to be very cool. So, as the marketing campaign starts unfolding, I'm totally onboard. After all, you can look great and still have heart. Cinna and Effie prove that much, right?"

"Hunger Games" Examiner's Sara Gundell agreed, noting that other campaigns have used seemingly incongruous advertising efforts to positive effect. "I know some fans have complained that it doesn't fit with the book's message or Katniss' feelings on the lavish style of the Capitol. However, a marketing campaign for the movies isn't about conveying the film's message (we wouldn't have bounties of toys and merchandise available for 'WALL-E' if that were the case). It's about promoting the movie and selling tickets. The folks at Lionsgate are doing their job, and they're being very clever and creative about it."

And even though he doesn't wear brightly hued lacquers himself, Hunger Games Fireside Chat host Adam Spunberg said he can see the logic in appealing to the pretty side of things. "As Frances Burney said in the novel 'Evelina': 'It has been long and justly remarked, that folly has ever sought alliance with beauty.' I can really relate to Katniss here, since she and I have about the same interest in nail polish, Capitol Couture and all the rest (my kind of girl)," he said. "Still, we have to realize that the people seeing this movie are not fashion-deprived District 12 citizens or cosmetically inept people like me. In actuality, it's a bunch of nice fans from the Capitol dressing up, wearing makeup and eating popcorn, which makes this marketing strategy anything but folly!"

What do you think about the style-centric marketing for "The Hunger Games"? Sound off in the comments below and tweet me @amymwilk with your thoughts and suggestions for future columns!

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