When Ocean’s 8 was coming out there were quite a few stories about the outfits sported by the cast, either interviews with the designers and wardrobe talent or just essays praising the style on display. A recent New York Times Style Desk story used it as a hook for a recap of other movies that featured outstanding and notable style.
That story crossed my RSS reader around the same time as the news that Amazon was introducing Prime Wardrobe to members, offering them the ability to try out clothes before committing to a purchase. The company hopes this can help it more fully dominate the fashion category, something that’s still largely a tactile and physical experience because people want to see how a piece actually fits before buying it.
At the same time, consider the fact that Amazon Studios is no longer *always* working with a studio partner to market and distribute the movies it releases to theaters. Where it originally wanted to play nice within the Hollywood system as a way of attracting talent, it’s gone out on its own with a few recent and upcoming releases in addition to the occasional title it, like Netflix, pushes exclusively on its streaming service.
Given Amazon’s tendency to dominate most any market or category it enters, it’s easy to speculate along these lines a bit and see a point where it uses its retail power (in fashion on other areas) to create a system where movies are positioned as long-form showcases for other products it sells.
Let’s use Ocean’s 8 as a hypothetical and pretend, for the sake of example, it was an Amazon Studios release. Once it’s available via Amazon Prime’s streaming service, the company could target you with information in a number of ways, either offering pop-ups during the movie that display information about the slacks Cate Blanchett wears in one scene or the jacket Sandra Bullock wears in another. Or maybe a list of items Amazon’s system thinks you’ll be interested in is displayed after the movie finishes, letting you easily click or tap to learn more. It’s not just fashion and clothing, either, but could include stationary, technology and other items.
In a scenario like this the bidding for product placement at the production level becomes even more intense as companies vie for positioning. Everyone would want to be included in high-profile films and studios could see a lot more financing support as a result. So too, Amazon would benefit because studios would be asked to bid on ad placement for those items, paying up to make sure the actual product from the film and not a competitor’s is offered to customers because that demand will help them secure even more support the next time around.
It’s not hard to connect the dots and see where Amazon could use its considerable muscle to change the movie watching experience into one with a strong retail and commercial element. Those movies it’s distributing, particularly the ones it’s handling itself, could be a powerful platform for a system that encourages you to look and act like the movie stars you’re watching on screen.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.