While the second Avengers film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, won’t be in theaters for another six months, product placement is already paying off for the brands that have partnered with the upcoming Marvel film.
Samsung, for one, is poised to pull off the kind of product placement that could make it a future case study for the practice.
It pops up twice in the latest trailer (watch below) in a brand cameo that’s already projected to be worth $2,903,309 according to Front Row Analytics, which uses a proprietary formula to put dollar values on product placements.
An “exclusive” trailer was posted on a Samsung YouTube channel, though it turned out to be the same as the standard second trailer. As of today, the trailer already has close to 10 million views, the source of Samsung’s product placement value.
In the trailer, a Samsung Galaxy tablet is held by Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character, while the brand’s logo and Galaxy S smartphone is clearly shown in the background of another scene:
Samsung may have a cameo in the official trailer, but the brand that gets the most love in the movie’s pre-release marketing machine is Harley-Davidson.
The motorcycle brand has worked with Disney-owned Marvel on a handful of films—Wolverine, Captain America—but for the second Avengers movie, Harley is raising the stakes.
“Our partnership with Marvel continues to provide thrilling platforms to showcase our latest innovations,” said Harley-Davidson in a statement during last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con event.
Harley-Davidson is using Avengers: Age of Ultron as a launching pad for its highly-anticipated Project LiveWire electric motorcycle, which was announced in June. (The movie will also feature a Harley Street 750.)
In the new Avengers trailer, the brand shows up—spectacularly—when Johansson’s Black Widow drops out of a plane riding one in a blur, and also when Captain America tears down the street:
Harley’s Avengers deal may prove to be the BMW Z3 placement of 2015. BMW’s roadster was featured in the 1996 James Bond film Goldeneye, and within days of the film’s release the model was back-ordered. To this day, the launch is held up as one of the most successful product placements of all time.
“[This] cross promotion will likely exceed any prior promotion conducted for a motorcycle launch,” said Eric Smallwood, senior vice president of Front Row Analytics. Front Row puts the value for Harley-Davidson’s appearance in the three official trailers alone at $7,578,369.
Like the Z3, the Project Livewire electric motorcycle is a whole new—and unproven—area for Harley-Davidson. And as BMW did with James Bond, having Captain America and Black Widow ride a LiveWire in the Avengers 2 trailer sends a strong message to Marvel fans—and potential Harley buyers.
Marvel is working hard to weave its cinematic titles together in a number of phases combining characters and furthering a single, cohesive narrative and universe. But it does not seem to be placing the same amount of effort in a cohesive product placement strategy.
For the Iron Man franchise, Marvel’s electronics brand partners have changed from LG (Iron Man 2) to China’s TCL (Iron Man 3). As we’ve noted, Audi’s product placement deal with Iron Man was out of step with Acura’s deal with The Avengers franchise.
While Harley-Davidson has teamed with Marvel for Captain America and The Avengers, Marvel’s Ghost Rider, the most Harley-Davidson-like Marvel hero of all time, has a deal with Yamaha.
And even if it’s not an official car sponsor for the upcoming Avengers film, Audi is the first logo you see (after the Marvel logo) in the trailer, and its badge shows up a second time, moving to the far right:
It may just be a prop supply for background purposes, and to be sure, lots of car brands show up in films that have very specific auto partners—even Iron Man films feature other auto brands.
As for whether Audi has an official deal for the upcoming Avengers movie, a brand spokesman told brandchannel, “At this point we haven’t made any announcements regarding Avengers so we don’t have a comment on this.”