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Sony Pushes Mega Spider-Man 2 Promotions

By Jun 30, 2004

Spidey hits theaters nationwide today, but promotional partners have been gearing up for the sequel’s premiere for months. More than 14 different brands have stepped up to help sustain the costs of marketing the film to audiences nationwide, but has the property become saturated?

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has lined up promotional partners that include mega-brands Burger King, Dr Pepper, Kraft Foods, Kellogg, Embassy Suites Hotels and Major League Baseball. Licensees include Activision, Sprint PCS, Toy Biz, Lego, HarperCollins, Crest, Crayola, Jem Sportswear and Leapfrog. Retailers like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Toys “R” Us, Sears, JCPenney and Target are also leveraging the Spider-Man brand by way of in-store events, product displays and ad campaigns.

This summer Dr Pepper has renewed its 2002 Spider-Man tie-in with Spider-Man 2, which originally called for product placement in the movie. The only brand seen in the actual film, however, is Maker’s Mark bourbon, a favorite of the movie’s director—no fees were paid to Sony. Though Dr Pepper will not be seen on the big screen, its manufacturer, Cadbury Schweppes, has embarked on a multi-million dollar ad effort.

Spider-Man 2 artwork appears on 240 million packages of Dr Pepper. Two new instant-win games complete with talking cans will be activated when the winning top is popped. The promotion ends July 31 and runs in 12- and 24- packs of Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper.

In another packaging innovation, 20-oz. and 2-liter bottles of the beverage carry “Spidey Eyes” through which consumers can peer once the bottle is empty to see if they have won. Prizes range from Dodge Vipers to yearlong supplies of Dr Pepper.

Extending promotional reach, Cadbury Schweppes has tied Dr Pepper in with a Burger King promo, which features Dr Pepper-branded fountain cups as part of the QSR’s “Spidey Sense” game. The on-carton game gives away Sony products, automobiles and a chance at $1 million. BK is spending tens of millions of dollars on TV spots that debuted Monday and run through Aug. 1.

Kellogg brought back its limited edition Spider-Man toasted oat cereal and Pop-Tarts just in time for the sequel’s premiere. Twenty-six different brands carry the brand with on-pack offers. In support, Kellogg is spending millions on TV, radio, online and print ads in the U.S. while also promoting its Spider-Man tie-ins in more than 180 countries.

To get kids geared up for the new movie, Embassy Suites Hotels is handing young guests Spider-Man 2 Web Packs filled with goodies (PROMO June 2004). The $2.5 million promotion is featured at all 174 Embassy locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Latin America. Over 100,000 packs filled with a Spidey camera, plush toy, game, treasure keeper, coin holder and stickers will be given away.

Aside from the successful partnerships with the film, the fiasco between Spider-Man 2 and MLB cannot be ignored (PROMO Xtra May 11, 2004). A $2.5 million promotional package between Sony and MLB was set to include Spider-Man 2 emblazoned bases however plans were ditched after fans complained. The promotion also included in-stadium signage, trailers and fan giveaways—elements that remained intact. Fifteen MLB clubs promoted the Spider-Man weekend (June 11-13) even after it was downsized.

Licensing partners for the film remain strong with Sprint PCS launching ring tones, screensavers and games. Crest is producing a Spider-Man 2 spin brush and toothpaste and AOL has sent out millions of Spider-Man-branded disks for AOL 9.0. The $200 million production carries a heft of promotional partners as it heads to the box office, but the question remains: How much is too much?