Film: Ice Age: Continental Drift (20th Century Fox)
Total Products Spotted: 0
Standout Placement: N/A
Most Memorable Placement (positive): N/A
Most Memorable Placement (negative): N/A
Overall Product Placement Integration Grade (1-10): N/A
Comments: It's a real challenge to justify brand-based references and jokes in a film that's mean to take place tens of thousands of years ago. It's even harder to legitimately place a product on the screen. That's why product placement in animated features set in Ye Olde Pre-Marketing Times is scarce and left to contemporary kid pics like Madagascar 3 while, like ancient Scotland-set Brave, the Ice Age franchise — the new #1 movie at the box office following the weekend opening of Ice Age: Continental Drift — is left to drift product placement-less. Offscreen, however, the film put together a wooly mammoth's worth of tie-ins and marketing muscle, well beyond augmented reality and a Dark Knight Rises spoof.
Toys-R-Us, Dannon, Post cereals, Movietickets.com, Walmart, Valpak.com, Build-a-Bear Worshop, Topps and "June Dairy Month" ("NATIONAL FROZEN & REFRIGERATED FOODS ASSOCIATION '$10,000 Mammoth Money Sweepstakes'") are just a few of the brands with high profile tie-ins that cross-promoted the fourth installment of Ice Age to the top of the box office over The Amazing Spider-Man.
No small feat, but then parents are desperate for entertainment during the summer. Of course, McDonald's helped spread the word by incorporating the Ice Age characters into Happy Meal kids packs.
One of the odder marketing partners for Ice Age 4 is Pirate's Booty, the air puffed snack brand that bills itself as a healthier alternative to chips and other kid-centric snacks.
Pirate Booty has a loyal following, even though the brand has had its bumps over the years and it's a bit surprising the brand is not as extinct as Ice Age's sabertooth tiger. Since 2000, the parent company has held two large scale recalls over tainted product. And in 2002, the Good Housekeeping Institute exposed the "Good for you!" Booty as containing triple its advertised levels of fat. The case resulted in a $50 million class action lawsuit.
But it managed to survive and its Pirate's Booty line has been reveling in society's Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired obsession with swashbuckling buccaneers of the high seas, including last year's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Pirate's Booty edition.
So then why Ice Age 4? It's an odd partnering until one learns that the latest Ice Age film — despite taking place tens of thousands of years before ships sailed the seas or gold had any value whatsoever — includes a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates. (Oh, what Pirates of the Caribbean's success hath wrought.)
Even the snack brand itself seems to understand this rise of the pirate identity. In late 2009, the company changed its name from American Gourmet Food, LLC to "Pirate Brands." Bottom line, if you have a film that has even the most remote hint of a pirate theme, by all means reach out to Pirate Brands to inquire about a marketing deal.
Below, a clip from Hollywood's new #1 movie: