Advertisers Head Into Orbit With 'Space Chimps'

SpaceChimpsGo ahead, kids--act like a chimp. That's the marketing message entertainment company Starz sends in the campaign launched with a host of brands to promote Twentieth Century Fox's forthcoming summer release "Space Chimps."

The interactive campaign runs June 20-July 20 and targets kids 2 and older, along with their parents. It embraces online, out of home, theaters, print and television, and games both virtual and physical.

The campaign runs in several elementary schools promoting education about chimps and their habitat. A watermark for the movie appears on the lunch menu that kids take home and hang on their refrigerator. There were Dole bananas in "Chimps," and the company is now promoting the movie by sticking labels on 100 million bananas, 4 million pineapples and 4 million salad bags sold in grocery stores. Amtrak offers a food tray liner with games for kids to interact with while traveling. Robeks is developing custom drinks, promoted in their stores during July. Other sponsors include Carl's Jr. and Hardees.



For Palisades Media, the creative force behind Starz's advertising blitz, Reactrix Systems' STEPscape--which lets people interact with brands through a projected image on the floor in malls and theaters--became the perfect marketing tool for a movie that encourages kids to "become like chimps," says Pete Dorhout Mees, vice president creative services/marketing for Starz.

Adds Mercedes Tondre, executive vice president at Palisades Media, a Santa Monica media-buying service: "It's the perfect tool during summer months, when it's difficult to reach kids on television." She did not reveal the marketing budget for the movie, but says "it's not unusual to see online creative budgets for movies between $500,000 and $1.5 million."

The Reactrix media buy runs in 154 malls and 30 theaters, including the Metreon in San Francisco. It shows free-spirited Ham, the irreverent chimp in the movie who escapes chaos by the seat of his pants, flying through the air with a rocket-pack on his back. The other two main characters--Luna and Titan--join him, along with supporting characters Comet and Houston. Kids jump on project images and interact with the characters, becoming familiar with the characters' personalities.

Palisades Media also created a chimp language translator found at that lets kids create messages in chimp-an-eez and send them from the site to cellular phones. Downloadable printable masks allow kids to become the characters. Video games and out-of-home marketing bring the chimps to life.

In mid-July, Starz will release video games for Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii and DS that follow the story's moral: Ham realizes the world doesn't revolve around him and grows into a better chimp.

The campaign also has a humanitarian message. An ad, along with trading cards, that ran in the May issue of National Geographic Kids is intended to familiarize today's youth with monkeys and chimpanzees. Starz also has begun to put together a program to make people aware of ongoing philanthropic work to save chimps from harm.

Web ads will run on AOL, Yahoo, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Wild Tangent, Addicting Games, KidzBop, Discovery, Family Education Network, National Geographic, and Miniclip, among others. Search engine marketing terms on Google and Yahoo include general and brand movie terms, cast members and animation references.

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