In conjunction with the upcoming Julia Roberts picture Eat Pray Love (coming on August 13), Cost Plus World Market has joined forces with Sony Pictures to produce an Eat Pray Love store.

This promotion, which will run from July 17 to August 28, is coupled with a chance to win a trip for two to Italy, India, or Bali. The store carries a bevy of items—tunics, journals, yoga bags, etc.—which were either chosen especially for the Eat Pray Love line by world-traveling Cost Plus buyers, or previously sanctioned for the general store and later deemed to be a perfect fit for the Eat Pray Love movie promotion.

According to Marissa Durazzo, senior marketing manager for Cost Plus World Market, the partnership between the retailer and the movie studio arose unexpectedly amidst negotiations for a different film.

“We had discussions [with Sony] for another project, but this was a much better fit in terms of the movie,” said Durazzo. “I’m a big fan of the book, and didn’t realize that they were making a film version of it.”

Sony, for its part, also welcomed the partnership as kismet. “Sony thought that we were a great fit because of our emphasis on travel and adventure,” Durazzo said, “as well as because we carry a lot of handcrafted items that fit with the film.”

The coupling of the movie studio and the specialty store is also seen to be practical in terms of the similarity of the store’s demographics with those of the film’s target audience. “Our core demographic—ages 18 to 55—is also the target market for the movie. Basically, it’s a chick flick,” said Durazzo, “and as 85 percent of our customers are women . . . We are getting great buzz.”

However, Henry Alvidres, the Eat Pray Love in-store expert for Cost Plus, notes that that Cost Plus’s new affection for Sony is not born solely out of contractual obligation. “I know that Cost Plus would not just jump at any opportunity [for movie promotion]—it would have to be a fit,” Alvidres said. “There is nothing that obligates Sony and Cost Plus in the future—though if the right opportunity came up, we would certainly entertain [another partnership with a film].

For this particular match-up, however, Alvidres echoes Durazzo’s positive outlook on the Eat Pray Love store. Just like the Julia Roberts character, Cost Plus’s buyers “travel the world—to the same places that the character visits,” Alvidres said. “The items fit with what Cost Plus is about—affordable, unique, and authentic products. Buyers can now watch the film and then take a part of it home with them.”


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