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Spy Spoof Comes Armed With Array of Brands

 

Jean Halliday and Emily York

Advertising Age

June 10, 2008
 

DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Warner Bros. has lined up 10 marketing partners for the U.S., among 38 others globally, for its remake of the '60s-era spy spoof "Get Smart," coming to theaters June 20.

In the U.S., four partners -- Subway, Best Buy, QVC and PepsiCo.'s Sierra Mist -- are promoting the film with "significant advertising" in print and TV, said Gene Garlock, senior VP at Warner Bros. Pictures, which is handling global promotions. The other six are using nonmeasured media, including point-of-purchase and online through their own websites, to support the movie; they include Anheuser-Busch, Visa, Hamilton Watch, Vespa USA and Swiss Army Knife.

Subway, Piaggio's Vespa, QVC and Hamilton are integrated into the film.

Spies count calories, too
Steve Carell plays the bumbling Maxwell Smart, who wears a Hamilton wristwatch. At the start of the movie, Smart dreams of being a field agent, but he's overweight. He slims down Jared-style in the opening credits, which show him working an obstacle course and, when finally slim, opening his fridge to pull out a Subway sandwich. Smart's sidekick, Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), buys a makeup kit from QVC's cable-shopping channel in the film and the two stars make a getaway on a Vespa scooter, Mr. Garlock said.

Subway and Vespa have partnered in a co-branded deal for the movie.

"We try to pool our partners together so they can find ways to share resources," Mr. Garlock said.

Michelle Cordial, director-brand management at Subway, said "Get Smart" is the first movie the company has committed to working with in a decade.

Howard Buck, president of Studio Services, which handles Vespa's placement deals, said the partnership allows the marketers to spread their costs and risks.

'Smart' eating
Subway is promoting the movie with signage at its 22,000 U.S. locations through June and offers a collectible, 32-ounce cup. The chain is running ads through June 30. The "Get Smart Eat Fresh Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes" started last week on the microsite subwayfreshbuzz.com and continues through August. Visitors can pick up clues and access codes at Subway sites and log onto the site for a chance to win a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger or one of 10 Vespa scooters. Other prizes include a tour of the Warner Bros. lot, $100 Best Buy gift cards and PepsiCo's Frito Lay Chips. (PepsiCo's Sierra Mist brand has a limited-edition "Undercover Orange" mandarin flavor linked to the movie and Duane "The Rock" Johnson's character, Agent 23).

Vespa provided the scooters for prizes and supports the sweepstakes on its home page, vespausa.com, with a hyperlink to the Get Fresh site. The marketer is also offering free $5 Subway gift cards on its website to consumers who test drive one of the scooters. The brand's online, print and in-store promotions run through Aug. 10 at all 250 U.S. Vespa dealers.

Paolo Timoni, president-CEO of Piaggio USA, estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 people will take Vespa test drives as a result the co-offer with Subway.

Piaggio's main objective is to educate Americans about the benefits of Vespa, because the scooters are much more popular in Europe, he said. Piaggio, which creates in-house ads for its local dealers but does no national advertising, sold 12,000 Vespas in the U.S. last year. With rising gas prices, Vespa has seen 2008 sales through May jump by 40%, he said.

Vespa's website for the movie was created by Matrix. Van Vandegrift, founder of Matrix, said Subway and Vespa also sent e-mail blasts to their opt-in customers promoting the contest.

A good fit
Ms. Cordial said Subway is using the opportunity to bolster its Fresh Fit menu and its best-selling turkey sub. Besides a logical and enviable linkage to the main character's weight loss and high-profile product placements, Subway gains access to a multigenerational audience and it what considers to be reasonable chances at a sequel. Ms. Cordial added that her brand will also benefit from the heavy media support behind the film.

For the nation's biggest sandwich chain, there's also an added appeal to a summer comedy that doesn't rely too heavily on toilet-bowl humor. "There are a lot of different kinds of comedies out there," Ms. Cordial said. "This is a smart comedy. We like to think of our customers as being smart."

 

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