When it comes to Tron: Legacy and product placement, we know about the Coors. We know about the Nokia. We even know about the Apple Macintosh Easter egg. But one brand has far more screen time than any other: Ducati. We spoke with the Italian bikemaker about how the brand got its motorcycle in the Tron sequel, if money changed hands, and what, exactly, Ducati hopes to get out of it.[more]
Seen in the Tron: Legacy trailers as Sam Flynn’s hot ride (above), the Ducati serves to establish the hero’s riding abilities before he goes inside the Master Control Program as battles in a light bike.
A Ducati spokesman told us, “The film called for a very retro-looking motorcycle but for filming’s sake they wanted modern and reliable performance. Ducati was nearly the only company currently offering such a bike, and the producer is a big fan of the brand, so for him it was a natural choice.”
The brand does not maintain an office in Hollywood nor does it retain a product placement representative. The spokesman said most Ducati placements “come to us via our network of Hollywood friends and contacts.” He confirmed that no money exchanged hands for the Tron placement.
No stranger to product placement, this year alone Ducatis have played huge roles in both Wall Street 2 and Knight and Day. Probably its most famous role was in the extended Matrix Reloaded scene in which Trinity tears up a highway with a Ducati sport bike (below).
Of the exposure gained in these onscreen opportunities, Ducati told us, “In general, the placements without a doubt build a buzz around and about the brand, but I must admit it is hard to directly measure sales success as a result.” He adds that when a brand has a chance to work well in advance of a placement, success is much more easily measured.
He points to The Matrix Reloaded, “The one good exception to this rule was The Matrix, the reason being we made a special production run of Matrix-replica models. These sold quite well, and it is easy to attribute this to the film, as this bikes were made for people who saw them in the movie and wanted one of their own.”
Ducati confirmed that it had a few more projects in the works and that it “will continue to have a strong showing in theatres around the world.” We’ve already sneaked a peek at one of those placements, in 2011’s sci-fi I am Number Four. Here’s acreenshot from the teaser trailer: