Jeep Terminates Big Effort For Warner Film
You may have noticed print ads for Jeep that also promote the Warner Brothers movie "Terminator Salvation," premiering on May 21. One such three-page gatefold, running in the current issue of Sports Illustrated, shows a Jeep Wrangler parked next to a river in an alpine wilderness. Standing in the river, knee deep with a fly fishing rod, is a "Terminator" robot. The ad contains the line: "Everyone can use a little break from judgment day."
The campaign includes a promotion for a chance to win a 2009 Wrangler or one of 50 family packs to any Six Flags Amusement Park and a Web site, www.jeepsummerthrill.com, promoting the film and the Wrangler, where consumers can sign up for the sweepstakes. The campaign is more like an echo of bygone days when Jeep would launch huge efforts around action and adventure films like "Laura Croft Tomb Raider" in 2003 and "Sahara" in 2005.
A Chrysler spokesperson says that not much more than a pair of print ads and the promotion will support product placement in the new "Terminator" film; just about everything else has been jettisoned, she says, because of Chrysler's bankruptcy. "When we scaled back the rest of our marketing for the film, we felt that keeping the print ads in two magazines -- Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly -- and keeping the sweepstakes would fulfill our commitment to Warner Brothers and the movie," she says.
In healthier times such cross-selling ventures would have been multimillion-dollar campaigns with TV, print, online, in-cinema, and dealership elements, plus licensing deals, special-edition vehicles and events. For "Sahara," starring Matthew McConaughey, there was a special-edition Jeep (same with "Tomb Raider") that copied the film version, cross-branded in-cinema trailers and TV spot ads using clips from the movie, and sponsored screenings, among other things.
The spokesperson said Chrysler had signed on last April for a product placement deal with the movie. "Warner came to us for Wranglers and at the time we said sure," says the spokesperson. "Since last April our situation has changed, so at this point, aside from the print ads and promotion, there will be no additional support for the movie because we are living on government loans."
Normally, the brand would be a nice match for such a movie -- which, to put it mildly, involves some under-maintained public roads -- and, per the spokesperson, the Wrangler plays the heroic-vehicle role in the film. "From that standpoint, it's a perfect fit for our brand; unfortunately, the company situation has made it more difficult to take part in a strong way."