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Transformers Uses Product Placement—Not China Version—to Win Audience

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 18, 2014 05:22 PM

The fact that Transformers: Age of Extinction, or 变形金刚4, premiered on June 19 in China—a full week ahead of its US premier—says a lot about the role China plays both in the film and in the film's box office.

Yahoo UK is even hosting a premier red carpet live stream from Hong Kong. (On June 18, tickets to the premier were up for auction online for as much as HK$11,888, or about $1,500.) Paramount's Taiwan-facing Facebook page posted a picture of a giant Optimus Prime statue that had been erected in Hong Kong harbor. Subway cars there are also wrapped in Transformers promotions. Not to be left behind, Beijing got its own giant Transformer statue.

Transformers 4 is easily the most anticipated Hollywood release in China this year—a year that has already seen Godzilla pull in $38 million on its opening weekend in China. But Transformers will easily surpass that and probably set a new China record to beat current record holder Iron Man 3. (For what it's worth, Transfomers 3 still hold's Hollywood's second biggest China opening.)

Transformers is loaded with Chinese product placement—and interestingly, US product placement aimed at Chinese audiences.Continue reading...

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The Week in China: Iron Man 3: China Product Placement, Luxury Crackdown and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 3, 2013 12:44 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: Iron Man 3 inaccuracies... BMW... Casino frugality... Wanglaoji trademarks... Heinz baby food... Hugo Boss mini-movies... Sunning manga... China's first lady for Pehchaolin... Ashley Furniture... L’Oreal... Ad spends... Iron Man 3 product placement... and more.Continue reading...

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China Looks to Iron Man 3, Hollywood as Gateway to US Living Rooms

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 11, 2013 11:04 AM

Behind Robert Downey Jr. were three product logos during a recent junket to Beijing to promote Iron Man 3. One was Audi, one was FAW-Volkswagen and the other was TCL.

Iron Man 3 re-upped its deal with Audi, a deal we said complicates the product placement continuity across Marvel's Avengers property. One other Iron Man 3 partnership that could also cause future continuity issues is the film's big tie-in with China's tech brand TCL.

But this is not TCL's first dance with a US blockbuster. Once again, the brand is hoping to use its position as a Hollywood sidekick to springboard its way into foreign living rooms. It appears to be working and TCL might soon be one of those select few Chinese brands that have cracked foreign markets, even if those foreign markets don't know TCL is Chinese.Continue reading...

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Hollywood's New China Deal a Goldmine for Product Placement

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 21, 2012 11:55 AM

"This agreement with China will make it easier than ever before for U.S. studios and independent filmmakers to reach the fast-growing Chinese audience, supporting thousands of American jobs in and around the film industry."

That's U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's summary of a groundbreaking new deal between the two nations that will relax the controls on China's movie market. The agreement came at the end of leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping's visit to the US, an image-polishing visit for China at a time when worker conditions and Apple dominated U.S. headlines.

The agreement included a deal with the Dreamworks Animation studio for a filmmaking joint-venture based in Shanghai. But it's also good news for one of the few industries America still excels at, while easing access to China's billion-strong audience for the product placement industry.Continue reading...

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Chinese Tee: Mainland Brands Test Product Placement in Transformers 3

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 20, 2011 03:00 PM

As US moviegoers head out to see Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon this weekend, some of the products characters use in the film might not be recognizable to them, but it’s not because the movie’s writers tried to come up with funky names for things. Instead, a few of the products used in the film come from a market even bigger than America: China.

As brandchannel's resident product placement guru Abe Sauer noted here last week, the third installment in the Transformers movie franchise is also a showcase for Chinese brands, as the Financial Times picks up on.

“The main motivation is to expand their brand recognition in foreign markets, but for others the focus is on the domestic market because the effect with foreign movies is better,” says Didi Zhang at advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather Beijing, which placed computer manufacturer Lenovo in Transformers 3, to FT.com.Continue reading...

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Transformers 3 is Back on Top as Brands Struggle to Transform Product Placements

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 11, 2011 02:30 PM

New movies opening over the weekend didn't stand a chance against Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

The Michael Bay blow 'em up about a "a peaceful race of intelligent mechanical beings" regained top spot at the domestic box office yet again, earning over $645 million so far worldwide. Maybe audiences were chased away from Zookeeper as a result of the perceived glut of product placement — even though, as we confirmed, T.G.I. Friday's did not pay for its inclusion.

We have already catalogued the identifiable products and brands in Transformers 3. That doesn't mean there aren't a few more notable points, such as how Chinese brands are failing to capitalize on their placements, even while Hasbro is capitalizing on everything it owns.Continue reading...

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