Brands want summer film magic

Marketers are tying campaigns to films they believe will be summer blockbusters, including Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3 and The Last Airbender. The list includes Cisco, Aflac and the US Postal Service.

Cisco’s Flip Video unit partnered with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies for a campaign tying its Flip cameras to the M. Night Shyamalan film The Last Airbender.

The campaign launched June 17, the film’s debut date. Flip also launched a limited edition series of nine cameras branded with The Last Airbender design and content.

The effort includes e-mail, banner ads, social media and e-commerce elements. Bird was the agency responsible for creative, while Urgent Content worked on production and Media Storm handled production.

“It is the first marketing initiative that we have undertaken with a movie studio,” said Jodi Lipe, director of marketing for Cisco consumer products for the Flip video brand. “The idea was to partner with a film that shares the same demographic and provide a way for Flip to extend our capability to these movie fans.”

A number of marketers and retailers are linking themselves to Disney’s Toy Story 3 film. Toys “R” Us partnered with Disney’s Pixar unit for an initiative that includes a special page on the retailer’s e-commerce site with exclusive Toy Story 3 products, as well as interactive games. The company launched the microsite June 13.

“It is about providing fun and interactive elements for kids and families,” said Bob Friedlind, senior PR manager at Toys “R” Us. “It is a playroom for all things Toy Story.”

In the interactive game, consumers can hunt aliens from the film for the chance to reveal behind-the-scenes videos, as well as to win discounts on Toy Story 3 products.

The retailer is also using the effort to drive in-store traffic, giving consumers who buy Toy Story 3 merchandise a free movie ticket at select locations.

The US Postal Service is also using an integrated campaign to tie its products to the family friendly Disney film. Disney agreed to produce the USPS’ springtime consumer-focused campaign, based on the Postal Service’s commercials starring “Al the Letter Carrier” promoting its Flat-Rate boxes. The push includes TV, print, direct mail, a website, banner ads, search, e-mail and in-store signage. USPS’s agency Campbell-Ewald worked on the campaign.

The Postal Service distributed direct mail featuring the Toy Story 3 creative during the first week of June, and began running homepage takeovers on June 14 to support the film’s June 18 release.

It launched the campaign’s TV and web elements May 18.

Asked about the risks of partnering with a film, which could bomb at the box office or receive poor reviews, Joyce Carrier, director of advertising and promotions at the USPS, said: “It is a leap of faith, but you prettymuch have one of the gold standards for movie franchises here.”

Aflac is also working with Pixar on a cobranded campaign starring Toy Story 3 characters. The campaign pairs the well known “Aflac Duck” brand mascot with characters from the Disney film. The effort includes print and television advertising, sweepstakes and social media.

The Zimmerman Agency worked on all campaign components except television ads, which Disney and its agency the Kaplan Thaler Group produced.

The creative features the Aflac Duck and the Toy Story franchise’s Woody and Buzz Lightyear characters trying to make their way through tough times. The effort’s goal is to highlight the need for insurance in an uncertain world.

Jeff Charney, SVP and CMO of Aflac told DMNews, “We wanted to position the Aflac Duck with one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer. The campaign targets families.”

Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Ad Council partnered with DreamWorks Animation SKG for a consumer-engagement campaign starring the animated character Shrek, the star of Shrek Forever After. The effort, launched June 11, includes an interactive site and social media, with the goal of educating children about the benefits of spending time in the forest.

DreamWorks Animation and digital agency Turbine Boost created the interactive website, TV ads and the social media push. The Brigham Young University Ad Lab developed a second series of radio, outdoor and Web ads to engage tweens.

The campaign creative directs consumers to, which has educational information on forests and highlights outdoor activities. Visitors can enter a ZIP Code to receive information on local outdoor recreational areas and submit their own outdoors-themed photos to appear on the site.

“The goal is to get kids to go out and explore nature, and since Shrek is from the forest, he is a natural fit to promote this message,” said Linda Kehn, head of national promotions for DreamWorks Animation Consumer Products. The Shrek character is top of mind because Shrek Forever After, the latest film in the series starring the friendly green ogre, opened nationally May 21, said Kehn.

“The idea is to encourage kids to get out and explore nature,” said Jeff Vogt, partner and co-creative director at Turbine Boost.

“We thought it was a natural tie in to use Shrek, being that he lives in the forest, with the notion of ‘you never know what you will find when you explore.’”

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