Fifty Shades Of Play: Brands Anticipate Film’s Valentine’s Day Release With Themed Parodies

Whether you dread Valentine’s Day or you circle the date in a love heart weeks in advance, this year the day means something a little different. It’s all down to some Twilight fan fiction, a couple of superbly good-looking stars and more innuendo than a Carry On film. That’s right, this year February 14th is officially Fifty Shades of Grey Day.

Okay, the film technically comes out on Friday, but there’ll be no avoiding Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey this weekend. Fifty Shades has been a hot-button topic since mid 2012, ever since E.L. James brought glossy sadomasochism into the mainstream and into the hands of commuters everywhere. We all recall that glorious summer of stubbornly insisting you wouldn’t read it, eventually giving in so you could join the conversation, and then quietly wondering what your ‘safe word’ would be. If the hype didn’t make the film adaptation inevitable, then the trilogy’s 100 million sales worldwide certainly did.

With Fifty Shades of Grey set to sweep over box offices like a wave in a Roland Emmerich film, brands and content creators are getting in on the, ahem, action with a series of videos parodying the sultry world of the film. Parodies were certainly popping up around the book, like SNL’s excellent Amazon spoof, but the impending cinema release has sent the internet into overdrive. We’re here to lead you blindfolded into the boudoir with a round-up of the best branded Fifty Shades parodies on the web.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, condom brands were among the first to jump on the sexed-up bandwagon. It’s not often one of the most-watched trailers of the year features more bedroom scenes than dialogue, and so Trojan’s Fifty Shades of Real Pleasure is perfectly timed.

A charmingly meta take on the phenomenon, the spot finds a couple in marriage counselling after the book’s boundary-pushing expectations ruined their sex life. “More like Fifty Shades of Lumbar Strain,” moans the beleaguered husband.

Durex’s spot attempts a more direct parody of the trailer’s minimalist style, including the already-iconic breathy cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy In Love’. While Anastasia and Christian fall into bed, the couples in Reality: It’s Better Than Fiction stay up all night… quietly reading Fifty Shades of Grey. As the title suggests, the brand doesn’t view this as an ideal state of affairs and so are turning up the heat with their campaign #50GamesToPlay. This apparently includes sending bouquets of lubricant to members of the press. Charming.

Moving away from prophylactics, Sportsbet Australia offers the most juvenile ad of the bunch with the racing themed Fifty Shades of Greyhound. If you can’t see where this is going, then a ‘doggy-style’ pun is simply wasted on you. Once again a shot-for-shot spoof on the trailer, the spot’s overt absurdity (not to mention, its weird bestial undertones) are likely to get some viewers all bothered, but not hot. Then again, Sportsbet is hardly a brand adverse to a little shock value.

With nearly 4,000 shares since its release earlier this week, Audi’s Elevator Scene is leading the Fifty Shades parody race. Like Trojan’s tragically goofy couple, the spot takes the film’s heightened style and applies it to real-life people, creating a tawdry mess of social awkwardness. Audi, whose vehicles will be featured prominently in the film, have a real ace up their sleeve in the form of SNL Vanessa Bayer, a whip-wielding seductress who can’t quite land a bedmate. Most of Bayer’s quips feel totally improvised, and the ad is hilarious for it.

With a few days to go until Fifty Shades international release, we’ll have to wait and see if any other brands join the softcore fray. In the mean time, there’s plenty of themed weirdness to whet your appetite, including a meticulous Lego parody and a startlingly strange Steve Buscemi version.

Just loosen the satin handcuffs, sit back and enjoy.