State Farm Backs Disney/Pixar's 'Cars 2'


State Farm is sponsoring Disney/Pixar's "Cars 2" animated flick with a promotion called "Agents on a Mission." The program features interactive experiences and something like 18,000 prizes, including a new Cadillac SRX.

The second film in a franchise that will probably have more sequels than spaces on a Wal-Mart parking lot involves the hero car Lightning McQueen competing in the World Grand Prix with his pickup truck pal Mater. The film takes the vehicles to big cities around the world, with a secret-agent subplot.

One element of the promotion includes a 30-second spot commercial called "Pitties" (as in people working in a racing pit-stop) that is thematically tied to the movie: it carries the message that you can't always be ready for the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune -- but State Farm agents are. The ad, via DDB-Chicago, uses characters from the movie with a State Farm pit crew. It breaks May 24 on "American Idol"'s season finale, with a pre-show cinema campaign in select theatres beginning on June 10.



State Farm will also back the film with a 30-city "Agents on a Mission" tour that centers on life-sized versions of the film's "car-acters." Visitors to the events can pretend to be special agents (this is all tied to the film's secondary story line wherein the pickup truck character gets pulled into an espionage mission by a British secret service guy voiced by Michael Caine) and participate in an online promotional push. There are also onsite games.

Promotion participants will be able to access special agent-"confidential" information and become eligible to unlock one of 18,000 prizes ranging from night vision goggles to a new Caddie crossover.

Retail elements have State Farm agents in the U.S. and Canada giving such stuff to "Agents on a Mission" recruits and distributing special agent ID/decoder cards and other merchandise at their local offices. Once consumers get an agent ID card they can play online games and puzzles that let them use faux security, surveillance and communication devices in order to complete missions.

Finally, State Farm will be a presenting sponsor at the movie's June 18 premiere in Hollywood.


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