Ad or Not?

Published on January 11th, 2016

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Ad or Not? David O. Russell’s ‘Joy’

Last night, Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of Joy Mangano, the “HSN queen” who invented the first self-wringing mop, the Miracle Mop, in David O. Russell’s “Joy.”

One day earlier, the real Mangano made her products available in major retail stores, including Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond, for the first time. One week earlier, Mangano returned to HSN to sell 250,000 redesigned Miracle Mops during a 24-hour marathon whose commercials included movie trailers for “Joy.”

Pondered one film critic during the HSN homecoming: “Is this life imitating art? Or life imitating art which already imitated life?” Or, TINA.org wondered, advertising imitating art, to the extent that the ultimate goal of advertising is to generate sales?

bed bath and beyond joy ad

For what it’s worth, Mangano admits to delaying certain projects for the movie, on which she served as an executive director.

“It was such an honor to have them come to me and say they wanted to make a movie inspired by my life,” Mangano told AdWeek in a recent interview. “I could hold off on rebranding and expanding in retail until now.”

And then there’s the creative agency Mangano simultaneously hired to create a commercial introducing consumers to three of her products: the revamped Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers and My Little Steamer.

“This is one of those rare moments when commerce, entertainment and culture collide to create something really special and unique,” Steve Red, president and chief creative officer of the agency tapped by Mangano, Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners, told AdWeek.

The Miracle Mop is central to Joy’s Cinderella story of how a single mother living with her own mother (and ex-husband to boot) became a multimillionaire. But the movie is equal parts admiration for Joy (the mop itself does not appear on screen until about 45 minutes in and only has about 20 total minutes of screen time in the 124-minute movie).

In fact, one finds oneself rooting for make-believe Joy throughout the film, which can’t hurt real-life Joy’s bottom line.

Find more of our coverage on movies here.

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