Ericsson Thinks Young With $10M 'Tomb Raider' Push

Ericsson Inc. is running a $10 million worldwide marketing campaign tied to next month's release of the big-budget action film “Tomb Raider” to reach males ages 18 to 24.

“We want to establish ourselves as a leader in the personal communications market,” said Rosemary Ravinal, director of public relations at Ericsson. “We see the movie as a great marketing tool that will allow us to get closer to the youth market and those that are interested in wireless communication and gaming.”

The youth market is where the bulk of Ericsson's business will come from over the next few years, she said, and that demographic is “more willing to purchase new gadgets and products that provide more than just voice communication.”

“Tomb Raider” stars Angelina Jolie as the Indiana Jones-like Lara Croft. The campaign consists of 100,000 direct mail pieces, print ads, television spots and a scratch-off game. It portrays Croft as a contemporary hero who is dynamic and powerful and shows how those characteristics are applicable to Ericsson's products. Ericsson is spending $5 million in the United States and $5 million overseas.

BBH London did the creative work, and Impiric Chicago handled all aspects of the sales promotions. The campaign began May 15 and runs until June 30. Mailers began dropping last week. Working with AT&T Wireless, Ericsson will target 100,000 young men who have shown interest in getting mobile phones. The names were provided to AT&T by magazines such as Details, FHM, Maxim and PC Gamer.

The piece is a “Tomb Raider”-themed mailer with a free CD-ROM and promotional information. It is designed to drive consumers to AT&T Wireless stores and kiosks where they can get a “Tomb Raider” gift and up to $100 in rebates with the purchase of an Ericsson phone.

This campaign marks the first time Ericsson has targeted such a young market in the United States, Ravinal said.

“With the campaign and the product placement in the movie, Ericsson is making a strong technological statement,” she said. “The goal is to push the current product line while positioning ourselves for the future.”

In all promotional elements of the campaign, Ericsson is pushing its current line of phones. But throughout the film, Lara Croft will use a number of Ericsson products that are not yet commercially available.

This is not Ericsson's first campaign linked to a big-budget film. A few years ago, it did a campaign with the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies.”

“That campaign generated a very positive return on investment, and we actually used a concept phone for that one,” she said. “We figured if the campaign can work that well with a concept phone, then it would be a great advantage for us to do one with products we have available.”

The print ads will use two images of Lara Croft. One will be for AT&T Wireless, and the other for Cingular. The Cingular ads will drive consumers to Cingular and other wireless retailers that carry Ericsson products, where they can get scratch-off game cards. Prizes include a Land Rover, trips to Southeast Asia, an entertainment station, Sony CD/DVD player, night-vision goggles, a leather backpack and binoculars. The print ads will appear in general-interest and lifestyle magazines such as Entertainment Weekly and People. The TV spots will run on national network and cable channels in selected areas.

Ericsson's worldwide headquarters is in Stockholm, Sweden, while its North American headquarters is in Research Triangle Park, NC.

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