Forget the World Series of Poker. The Serious Gambling Started This Weekend.

May 7, 2008 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

It’s now become a rite of summer just like going swimming, shooting fireworks and eating Watermelon. With this weekend’s release of “Iron Man” starring Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrance Howard, the summer blockbuster movie season is officially under way. And with it, the barrage of corporate tie-ins that are guaranteed to follow.

“Iron Man” got things off to a healthy start this weekend earning $100.8 million in its first three days of release and featuring, among other things, an action sequence with Robert Downey Jr. taking the new Audi R8 for a 100 mph spin through winding roads and ultimately pulling to an immediate stop as the car comes directly into lens, perfectly framing the Audi logo on the front hood. From last summer’s GM lovefest in “Transformers” to James Bond’s finicky preference for Astin-Martins and BMWs, “Iron Man” continues the long standing affair between action hero and hot new sports car. But that’s only where it begins.

During the brisk 2:06 of “Iron Man” we also discover that hero Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) has a love for Burger King Cheeseburgers. Apparently the first thing one wants after three months in captivity at the hand of Islamic terrorists. He utilizes Dell servers that pull off unbelievable 3D holographic imaging. He utilizes an LG phone that gets perfect reception anywhere. And he even serves up magazines of interest including Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

It used to be that brands would pick one movie to invest in, or one movie to support in store. This summer, Burger King will tie into three including “Iron Man,” “Incredible Hulk” and “Indiana Jones And the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” which will inspire the Indy Double Whopper in store. On the heels of today’s news that BK was up 5.4% in the last quarter, summer tie-ins could make for a monster year for the number two hamburger chain. But then again, tie-ins can be tricky.

With “Speed Racer,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Price Caspian,” “Indiana Jones,” “Kung-Fu Panda,” “Hancock,” “Incredible Hulk,” “Wall-E,” “The Happening,” “Love Guru,” “The Dark Knight,” “Sex and the City” and “Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” all on the docket, how much attention can each possibly get? Enough to justify millions in placement, endorsement and promotion? We’ll see.

In a summer when getting to the movie theatre could cost as much as the ticket itself, companies may find a DVD endorsement was the better play.


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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