May 30, 2006

Brave new world for summer tie-ins

By Gail Schiller

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Big summer films such as
"Superman Returns" and "Cars" are looking further afield than
traditional marketing partners like McDonald's, Burger King and
PepsiCo as they try to reach niche markets -- and figure out
how to deal with media attention on junk food and obesity.

"All the studios are aware that childhood obesity is an
issue," one studio promotions executive said. "They're slowly
starting to figure out what they want to do but there hasn't
been a shift yet. People are just more aware of it."

More to the point, entertainment marketers and studio
executives say they are seeking deals with unconventional
brands and nontraditional partners in an attempt to reach as
many moviegoers as possible.

Disney/Pixar's June 7 release "Cars" has lined up 17
promotional partners for what is being described as the biggest
and broadest campaign in Disney history. More traditional
partners include McDonald's, AT&T, Georgia-Pacific, Kellogg's
and General Mills' Go-Gurt brand.

The other partners, many of them relatively new to the film
business, are State Farm, Hertz, Goodyear, the U.S. Department
of Transportation, Energizer, Valvoline, Mack Trucks,, Porsche, Airheads Candy, Intelligent Direct
Marketing and NWA World Vacations.

Only four of the 17 tie-in partners for "Cars" sell
products or developed promotional programs geared specifically
for children as even family movies broaden their reach far
beyond traditional kid-targeted brands.

"There are more and more promotions happening with
companies that haven't done film tie-ins before as Hollywood
reaches out to consumers in new and interesting ways," said
Brett Dicker, marketing executive vp at Disney's Buena Vista
Pictures unit.

Disney's July 7 release "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Man's Chest" is launching a big promotional program in the
summer, though Disney said it was too early to provide
specifics. McDonald's, Verizon, MSN and M&M's are on board,
along with a number of other partners.

"Superman Returns," which opens June 30, has teamed with
such traditional movie partners as Burger King and PepsiCo.,
whose promotion also includes PepsiCo. brands Tropicana,
Quaker, Aquafina and Frito-Lay. Other promotional partners are
Duracell, the Got Milk campaign, Samsung,, the
Newspaper Association of America and Quaker State Oil, which
said "Superman Returns" is its first-ever movie tie-in.

The increased competition for brand marketing dollars from
television, the Internet, music and video games also is leading
studios to hook up with a growing number of unconventional
promotional partners.

For "Over the Hedge," DreamWorks Animation worked with
Wal-Mart to integrate several of the retailer's own suppliers
into Wal-Mart's "Hedge" custom-animated TV spots. Hanes Tagless
Tees, Diet Pepsi, Frito-Lay Baked Cheetos, Gatorade, Oscar
Meyer beef franks, HP digital cameras and Coleman Coolers all
were featured in Wal-Mart's summer-themed "Hedge" spots.

Universal Pictures, along with such promotional partners as
Anheuser Busch and MasterCard, came up with some intriguing
concepts for "The Break-Up," which opens June 2.

Budweiser is hosting a "National Break Up Day" microsite
for the Jennifer Anniston film that includes such features as
community postings of the worst break-up stories and the best
ways to break up; compatibility quizzes, e-cards and other
viral tools to facilitate actual breakups and a "photochop"
application that allows users to scratch, replace, burn, tear
or mark up the faces of their former loves.

MasterCard's promotion includes a special edition Zagat
guide incorporating ideal restaurants for breakups that will be
inserted into magazines in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

For "The Da Vinci Code," Sony Pictures partnered with the
Eurostar train rail system, the tourism boards for the U.K.,
France and Ireland, Symantec, Cingular, Google, Sony Ericsson
and DaimlerChrysler's Smart Car, which was featured in the

Warner Bros. even managed to set up a unique tie-in for
"Poseidon," the disaster movie that quickly sank at the box
office. Ike Behar shirts, which were worn by Josh Lucas and
Kurt Russell in the movie, ran co-branded print ads in a number
of fashion magazines and an in-store promotional program at

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter