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Rip Curl execs on "Soul Surfer" plans

By Tiffany Montgomery
March 29, 2011 9:27 AM

The industry’s struggling junior’s sector could get a major boost when “Soul Surfer” opens in theaters nationwide April 8.


“Soul Surfer” tells the story of Bethany Hamilton, and the cast includes some pretty big names including Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood, AnnaSofia Robb as Bethany and Lorraine Nicholson (Jack’s daughter) as Alana Blanchard.


Soul SurferArtwork Rip Curl is using for POP and window displays at key retailers.

Rip Curl, Bethany’s long sponsor, got involved as a partner in the movie early, even before Sony Pictures signed on.


I spoke with Rip Curl Marketing Director Dylan Slater and National Sales Manager Paul Harvey about how Rip Curl worked with the filmmakers to make sure the surfing in the film was authentic as possible and how they are trying to use the exposure to drive sales for retailers, Rip Curl, and the industry as a whole.


Partners in film

Rip Curl has sponsored Bethany since she was 11 and jumped at the chance to get involved in the movie.


The partnership package includes product placement for Rip Curl, having Rip Curl events featured in the film, and the opportunity for Rip Curl to give input to be sure the surfing scenes are authentic as possible. Bethany does all her own surfing in the film.


Paul credited Dylan for the work he did on the authenticity front.


“When Hollywood gets ahold of a surfing movie, at first you are stoked but then you get nervous,” he said.


The surfing in “Soul Surfer,” however, is “amazing,” Paul said. “The action is incredible.”


Now Rip Curl is helping on the promotion and marketing side of things as well, and speaking to the surf community about the film, Dylan said.


Rip Curl has an ad campaign on Surfline, has lined up autograph signings for Bethany at key accounts and is helping place POP and window displays at key stores as well.


In addition, Rip Curl created a co-branded Rip Curl and Soul Surfer capsule apparel collection that includes Ts, tanks, and hats. The collection is going to 25 key retailers around the country.


The goal is to connect the dots among Rip Curl, Bethany herself, retailers, and the movie.


While the actresses that play Bethany and Alana wear Rip Curl head to toe in the film, they are wearing the Spring 2010 collection. Ideally, Rip Curl would have liked to have Spring 2011 in the film but that proved impossible because filming took place so far ahead of the making of the apparel line.


In a few markets with advance screenings of the film Rip Curl was able to offer a gift with purchase to retailers in that market that included tickets to the screening.


See Page 2 on hopes for junior's market

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