The comic-book action blockbuster “Iron Man 2”, set to open nationally in about 25 days, is at the center of so many branding, placement and buzz promotions that it leaves other holistic campaigns looking some serious degrees short of a full 360.
The first movie, released May 72, 2008 by Paramount Pictures, proved tremendously popular, especially given that it was built around one of marvel’s less well known heroes, billionaire industrial/playboy turned superhero Tony Stark. That didn’t keep the picture from doing $100 million in box office in its first U.S. weekend and scoring two Oscar nominations.
As a result, many of the original brands that took part in the first movie are back with bigger and more elaborate promotions this time around, including LG Mobile, Audi, 7-Eleven, Dr Pepper, Burger King and Oracle software. According to Variety, the brand partners will spend more than $80 million in media buys alone to publicize their links to the sequel.
For example, convenience retailer 7-Eleven has increased the size of the collectible-cup promotion around “Iron Man 2” to 10: four Slurpee cups with lenticular-motion shots from the movie, four premium Super Big Gulp cups, and two molded character mugs of Iron Man and his movie sidekick War Machine. The chain will also offer three straws with collectible plastic figurines from the movie.
This time around, the collectible Slurpee cups also hold codes printed on their inside lids. Those codes can be entered to earn points that can be redeemed for real and virtual prizes. They can also earn extra entries into 7-Eleven’s “Collect like a Superhero, Live like a Billionaire” sweepstakes, which offers a deluxe three-night trip for four to Los Angeles for the movie premiere on May 7.
Other brands turbo charging their promotions around this second installment include Burger King, which will run TV spots targeting both adults and kids and a promotion on its ClubBK.com kids’ site. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group has built an Invincible Orange Slurpee flavor for sale at 7-Eleven stores and will also offer “Iron Man 2”-branded cans in retail stores.
Meanwhile, Hershey brand Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups has developed a social-media contest, pitting two teams of students at MIT’s business school to see which team—the Chocolates or the Peanut Butters– can drive the most fans to a Web site. At that site, fns will be able to create their own “Iron man 2” screen test and unlock exclusive content. The team’s social media efforts will show up on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and selected blogs. Reese’s will also run an on-pack instant-win game through September offering the chance of a walk-on part in a future marvel-based movie.
Because the plots of both the original and the sequel rely so heavily on technology, some of the gadget providers who took a part in the first one have come back for lots more exposure in “Iron Man 2”. Five different models of Audi are shown in the new film, including Tony Stark’s personal R8 Spyder sports car, introduced in the first picture two years ago. LG Electronics branded only its mobile phones in the first movie; this time around it will add its flat-screen TV technology.
Motor oil brand royal purple has capitalized on scenes showing Stark indulging in the rich man’s hobby of auto racing by fielding a Stark Motor Racing Team of professional drivers, pro stock motorcyclists and road racers who will wrap their cars in Stark signage, along with sponsorship messages for Royal Purple and “Iron Man 2”. All will race nationally throughout 2010 for the Stark motor Racing Team promotion.
Perhaps the most interesting promotion is one that has already concluded by Oracle software that asked chief information officers to describe how their real-life IT successes made them good candidates to become the honorary CIO of Stark Industries. The winner of the ‘Go from IT hero to Super Hero’ contest will also win an expense-paid trip for two to the film’s premiere.
Oracle apparently knows it’s onto a property with deep appeal for its tech-savvy customer base, because the software company is promoting the Tony Stark character in its TV spots as an “IT Super Hero”. A landing page on the Oracle site also offers “Iron Man 2” desktop wallpaper, a chance to view the movie trailer.
Another Oracle tie-in offers free movie posters to every visitor who joins the site as a Master Cloud Operative, expert in cloud-based computing and able to use those powers to help protect the fictional Stark Expo 2010 from being overrun by villains.
That Stark Expo is itself part of the viral marketing from Paramount, a Web site that purports to be an online brochure for a spectacular technological trade show. The Web site is linked to a Facebook page where visitors can sign up to become fans of the fictional event. The Facebook updates also point fans to content on the Stark Expo Web site, including pitch-perfect promotional films of
The site also offers an interactive rotating “map” of the Expo that blends pavilions from real brands such as Dr Pepper, LG and Kodak with movie brands, including Accutech and CordCo.
The Facebook page devoted to the Expo has already amassed about 6,500 fans—and created a certain amount of confusion about whether there really will be a new exposition opening next month in Flushing Meadows, on the site of the old New York World’s Fair.