Twenty-two years after Jurassic Park hit movie theaters, the upcoming Jurassic World is igniting nostalgia—and not just with audiences. Brands are also keen to reminisce.
A product tie-in more than two decades in the making, Barbasol shaving cream has launched a Jurassic World promotion focused on the brand’s cameo in the 1993 original—reviving a perfect tie-in between a brand promise (“a close shave”) and a movie theme.
So, just how did Barbasol end up in Jurassic Park anyway?
It was never quite the Reese’s Pieces-ET relationship of dinosaur movies, but anyone who ever saw Jurassic Park remembers that Barbasol was more than a product placement but a pivotal plot point, as the shaving cream canister was modified to nefariously smuggle dino embryos off the island. That attempt met doom, with the canister lost in the jungle.
Building on its new sweepstakes titled Capture the Can, Barbasol has partnered with Jurassic World to release several special-edition, Jurassic-themed Barbasol cans. Of course, Barbasol is basking in the positive social media nostalgia that this unique product tie-in has generated.
— Barbasol (@BarbasolShave) May 7, 2015
What Barbasol did not reveal is just how its can ended up in the original to begin with. According to a behind-the-scenes interview for the 20th anniversary trilogy Blu-ray release, it was a bit of dumb luck and good product design.
John Bell, art director on the original Jurassic Park film, explained that the script called only for “a shaving can.” So Bell went to the prop shelves and his eyes came to rest on the Barbasol can. “I liked the name and I liked how it graphically it stood off the shelf from the others.” And thus was a product placement icon was born.
Today, replica Barbasol cans from the film are collectors items.
Still, while it’s unknown if Barbasol will somehow win a sly cameo in Jurassic World, another brand has a Giganotosaurus-sized partnership with the film: Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes’s Jurassic premier was in the second film, The Lost World. Now the German automaker is back as the official car of Jurassic World. The tie-in includes promotion of its GLE Coupé model.
In promotional materials, Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall calls the brand’s inclusion “a natural fit,” adding that the autos “lend themselves perfectly as the transportation of choice in the fully-functioning international theme park we have created at Jurassic World.”
The automaker’s AMG 6×6 was even part of a promotional display at Comic-Con and will be a featured Jurassic World toy.
It’s worth mentioning that while some automakers look to the past for their tie-ins, others look to the future. Perhaps 20 years from now, the all-new Chevy Volt will be announcing its partnership with Tomorrowland 5, 6 or 7.
A final note on Jurassic World and nostalgia. With China, Russia and other nations’ box offices now in play, this film could be one of the most lucrative ever. In China, for example, 1993’s Jurassic Park was one of the first films seen by the long-closed nation. Not only is its “brand” well-known but, like Forrest Gump and Titanic, it is thought of quite fondly.
The film will be released in China on June 10, two days before in US release. It has a dedicated site for China and on one Youku posting alone, the trailer has been viewed more than 9.5 million times.
While Star Wars is going to be a huge movie in 2015, don’t be surprised if Jurassic World—with the key word being “world”—is even bigger. As for whether Barbasol pops up again, you’ll just have to watch and see.