Holly Wheeler has gotten used to calls like this by now.
On May 31, the relentless buzzing of her cellphone disturbed her otherwise relaxing Sunday. “I got a ton of text messages all of a sudden,” recalls Wheeler, the vp of global brand marketing for Wrangler. “I had all these people sending me texts with screen grabs of a little alien with the denim-on-denim look.”
The messages, she recalled, also pretty much all said the same thing: “Dude! You’re on Rick and Morty!”
Well, it wasn’t actually Wheeler who was on Adult Swim’s cult hit animated sci-fi series—it was Wrangler.
Without spoiling anything, the show’s Season 4 finale featured a mock piece of marketing in which a Gromflomite pitchman warmly thanks an evil clone version of Morty’s mother Beth for her latest purchase. “Congratulations to your government, business or terror cell on its acquisition of the NX-5 Planet Remover by Xamaxax in partnership with Wrangler Jeans!” said the alien insect, essentially suggesting that it’s easier to wipe out a planet than a pair of Wrangler denims.
Contrary to what some fans probably thought, Wrangler corporate hadn’t paid for the placement and, in fact, didn’t even know it was coming. But now that it was out in the world, Wheeler moved quickly to do something about it.
“We didn’t know Wrangler was going to be in the show,” she said, recalling her next thought: “We’ve got something here. We gotta do something with this.”
What Wrangler did about it makes its official debut today: the Wrangler x Rick and Morty Collection. It features a T-shirt and laser-etched denim jacket, both sporting a lavish illustration of the NX-5 Planet Remover. (There’s no word on what a galactic death ray might cost, but the items will run you between $29 and $79 on Wrangler’s website.)