A24’s new book is a celebration of the most iconic movie merch of all time

Released tomorrow, ‘For Promotional Use Only’ is a fan letter to the aesthetics of cinephilia.

by Roisin Lanigan
03 November 2021, 2:00pm

Imagery courtesy of A24

They just don’t make movie swag like they used to. While promotional material still exists for big blockbuster releases, marketing giveaways and cheesy memorabilia has sadly become a relic of the past, alongside toys in cereal boxes and going to the mall to just hangout. But our nostalgia for those halcyon days persists, and A24 wants to celebrate that bygone era of movie magic with a new book all about the best props, swag and marketing mayhem from Hollywood. 

Released today, For Promotional Use Only: A Catalogue of Hollywood Movie Swag and Promo Merch from 1975-2000 (a mouthful!) is a fan letter to the aesthetics of cinephilia and the absurd lengths production studios would go to in order to generate buzz for their movies in an era pre-Twitter

Featuring everything from hats, coffee mugs, pens, clocks, mouse pads and toy guns, the high-end coffee table book is a celebration of ingenuity and excess in the film industry. It showcases a mammoth 165 artefacts of cinema, with notable chefs kiss examples including Jaws beach bags (with matching tights), a surprisingly chic silk jacket in the actual Colour Purple, a Mr Bean mouse-mat, a Wilson-faced Castaway volleyball and a bag of magic beans that may or may not grow into evil creatures when dropped in water (to coincide with the release of Gremlins 2). Other more bizarre items include a set of Being John Malkovic-themed Russian nesting dolls, a Reservoir Dogs branded plastic ear, a Jackass whoopee cushion, a newspaper reporting dispatches from inside Jurassic Park and a bucket hat inspired by The Notebook.

For Promo Use Only cover

As well as the memorabilia itself, For Promotional Use Only… also features essays and insights from some of the people who brought us the most bizarre and imaginative items (notably Steve Ellman, the mind behind the Jaws beach bag). There’s also a foreword by Roger Corman, a legendary actor, director and producer known as “The Pope of Pop Cinema”. 

To celebrate the book’s release, A24 is organising a charity auction of some of the best and most bizarro movie merch from the past. Utilising their charity auction platform, A24 Auctions, the sale will feature all of the objects featured in the new book, with proceeds going towards the Vidiots Foundation, a charity supporting the reopening of LA’s historic Eagles Theatre in Spring 2022.  

Sixth Sense themed magic 8 ball auction page from A24

It’s not the first time A24 have dipped their toes into the prop auctioneering game. At the beginning of the pandemic, the company organised a charity auction of the most iconic props from their own movies and shows, including the Midsommar floral dress, Rue’s trademark red hoodie from Euphoria and Adam Sandler’s chic Furby necklace from Uncut Gems, all in aid of organisations in New York leading the fight against Covid-19

Godzilla Pez dispenser

If you missed out that first time round (or you just want a Vin Diesel xXx emblazoned condom to add to your Furby necklace -- May Queen dress ensemble), then the auction runs from 4 November until the end of this week. Happy bidding!

Being John Malkovic themed Russian nesting dolls

Follow i-D on Instagram and TikTok for more film news.