Advertising is not just about creativity. There is also timing, location, and identifying opportunities. As the goal of advertising is to fortify the brand to as many viewers as possible, utilizing movies seems to be a no-brainer.
Movies earn billions of dollars and are shown in almost every country in the world. They have two to three hours of the viewers’ undivided attention. Product placement in movies is a genius idea, and it also aligns with the image that the brand would want to project. One example is that of Audi, which has a tie-in with Marvel Studios. The dealers reported an increase in Audi cars for sale or pre-order.
Enter the world of product placement. This is the practice of companies placing their products in movies or TV shows for them to use organically as part of the plot. This was supposed to be a form of subtle or subliminal advertising.
It would be hard to place which movie did product placement actually start in, and that is a testament to their effectivity. The less conspicuous a product’s place in the movie is, the better it is executed.
It is quite a balance for the producers and directors. The producers would insist on using a particular product or a particular brand without affecting the integrity of the film. Otherwise, any careful director would not agree to it.
Product placement has existed throughout the decades and some brands have actually been synonymous with a particular movie. But with the current trend of having movies as part of the ongoing development of a “Cinematic Universe,” the partnership with a film company now extends through a series of movies—so it’s a tie-in between the movie and the product.
Audi and Tony Stark
One of the recently celebrated movies and car tie-ins was that between Audi and Marvel Studios. Ever since the character of Tony Stark appeared in the first “Iron Man” movie in 2008, Audi already believed that Stark embodied the image of their brand. Iron Man was blazing in his suit and most of the audience would be left in awe with the wizardry of his suits, which always increase in capacity with every appearance.
Stark’s commitment to constant improvement is one of the traits that Audi related with. With every model, Audi has continued to innovate and leave the motorists in awe.
Stark has driven variations of Audi models, and this is because they saw Stark as a perfect fit because he used technology and his own high level of intelligence to make state-of-the-art armor that allows the man behind the wheel to take better control of his machine.
Audi of America has registered huge increases in their sales since the partnership with the Iron Man/Tony Stark franchise in 2008. It set the tone for their campaign that coincided with more movies that Tony Stark appeared in. The “Avengers” movies and even “Captain America: Civil War.”
It reached a point when one of the advertising campaigns of Audi, which was supposed to be a teaser for “Avengers: Endgame”, almost spoiled an important detail in the movie. “Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run”, which was an online game collaborated between Audi and Marvel, was thought to be a spoiler regarding Tony Stark. But it was eventually debunked.
As car and movie tie-ins continue to bring success to both sides, it might lead to more partnerships in the future. It is a win-win situation for the film company and the carmakers. We can expect other automotive companies to follow suit.