Does Paramount Need to Spend $100M for 'Iron Man 2' Marketing?
By Jane Boursaw Posted May 4th 2010 11:00AM
Contrary to some folks, I really don't mind the rampant product placement found in movies and TV shows these days -- hey, if the employees at the Buy More on 'Chuck' want to eat Subway sandwiches, more power to them. And yes, I do crave a frosty Coke after watching the 'American Idol' judges drink ... whatever it is they're drinking out of those massive Coke cups. So I guess the product placement is working.
But along comes a movie like 'Iron Man 2,' in theaters this Friday. Paramount and Marvel Entertainment are spending some $100M on marketing, and you wonder if they've gone too far. When does marketing cross the line into complete and utter overkill insanity?
Another question that springs to mind is this: Does 'Iron Man 2' really need to be marketed so widely? I know there's a ton of stuff going on behind the scenes that I likely will never understand, but if you have a sequel that's riding the coattails of a 2008 blockbuster, you're probably going to get lots of people who will see the movie whether they eat a Whiplash Whopper or drink a Big Gulp out of a cup emblazoned with Iron Man. Then again, I've read a few advance reviews, and maybe the movie needs all the marketing it can get.
Still, with upwards of eleven marketing partners on board, 'Iron Man 2' will likely be the biggest movie-marketing event of 2010. Will we be sick of the movie before it even hits theaters? And if it's a complete box office flop, will the brands suffer, as well? Here's a sample of the promotional blitz:
Burger King. They're not only selling the aforementioned Whiplash Whopper, as well as eight 'Iron Man' toys, but they also snagged a guest spot in the film, when Tony Stark requests a cheeseburger from the fast food eatery. No word on whether he had to invent a translator to understand the voice through the drive-in speaker.
Land O'Frost. I admit I've never heard of this brand until now, but the lunch meat company will feature an 'Iron Man' sweepstakes and TV and print ads in magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal. And don't be alarmed if you see a life-size Tony Stark standee in front of the refrigerator case where the products are sold. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Audi. In addition to ads on Fandango.com and other companies, here's another brand that gets a starring role in the film. Their R8 Spyder is Stark's convertible of choice, and several other Audi cars will be seen in the movie, including the A8 sedan, Q7TDI SUV, A3 TDI hatchback and Q5 SUV. Audi says that launching their R8 sports car in the first 'Iron Man' movie contributed greatly to the car's success.
Hershey's. Here's a marketing partner I'm more than happy to climb aboard. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have special 'Iron Man' packaging -- sure, I'm buying it just for the packaging -- and they're also sponsoring a sweepstakes, offering fans a chance to win a walk-on role in an upcoming Marvel movie. Hmmm ... maybe the lucky winner will get to hang with Chris Evans on 'Captain America.'
Oh, there's more, lots more, including Royal Purple (the preferred motor oil of Stark Motor Racing!), Symantec/Norton AntiVirus (eliminate online evils!), Dr. Pepper (14 collectible cans!) and LG Electronics (limited edition 'Iron Man 2' comic book with an LG handset bought at Verizon Wireless!).
You get the picture. And the marketing doesn't end when 'Iron Man 2' hits theaters. It'll continue on through the summer, since the movie will likely be in theaters for months. Seriously, if it wasn't Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role, I'd already be Iron Man'd out. Ok, I've gotta run. Maybe I can sneak one of those cardboard cutouts out of the grocery store.
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