Volvo is launching an international promotion around "Twilight: New Moon," the second installment of Summit Entertainment's "Twilight" motion picture series, premiering on Nov. 20.
In the romance film, vampire Edward Cullen drives Volvo's XC60 crossover. Volvo's C30 3-door coupe was featured in the first movie, but this is the first of the films in which Volvo is actually marketing around the car's star turn.
"It was a missed opportunity in the first film because the car had actually four minutes in the film, which is unheard of in product placement," says Linda Gangeri, Volvo's national advertising manager. "It did really well without us doing anything, so with the second film we worked with the studio to develop a global program."
Efforts include ads, social media, interactive games on a cross-promotional Web site, and sweepstakes in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
The campaign includes the site WhatDrivesEdward.com, where consumers can enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the film's premiere in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, where they will also get to meet the cast.
Volvo is also dangling an XC60 as a prize in an interactive series of "Twilight"-themed puzzles launching Nov. 1 on the site. The game series, running through Nov. 23, tests players' knowledge of the film and lets participants exchange hints via social media.
Gangeri says Volvo will seed comments about the game on Volvo XC60 pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr to generate buzz. The TV ad flight kicks off Nov. 1. She says all elements will incorporate images of the film and elements of the story.
"What we have learned is these fans for this series are so fanatical that the minute you deviate from the story in any way they are not happy. All of the creative you see will be centered on the film, so the 30-second TV spot will use footage from the film that incorporates the car, and the online game is all about the story." Volvo will host clips from the film on the Web site as well.
The film is the right property for Volvo, per Gangeri, because it skews young, and allows Volvo to get outside the "safety" envelope that has defined the brand for consumers for years.
"What happened with the C30 in the first 'Twilight' film was it drew interest among 20- to-30-year-olds and people who had never considered Volvo before," she says. "And while the books started out appealing to a teen audience, it has grown exponentially. Women of all ages -- they are reading the book. It does relate to what we are trying to do with brand, since we are perceived as 'safe.' This movie gives us an audience of people who haven't acknowledged us before and lets us break out of the paradigm of being seen only as a safety brand."
According to Gangeri, Volvo's XC60 wasn't brought into the movie through deal-making, but because author Stephenie Meyer's brother suggested it. "He is very much a car nut; he was charged with deciding which characters drove what in the movie. The Volvo was chosen for Edward because he's the hero -- a protector who takes care of Bella, yet he wants to have something exciting and fast and fun," she says.
Volvo's last global movie tie-in was around the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, a sponsorship that comprised Volvo marketing programs in 22 countries. "We are doing a similar cadence with 'New Moon'," says Gangeri, adding that the global project was developed in the U.S. by AOR, Boston-based Arnold Worldwide and Volvo's longtime digital agency Euro RSCG.