Auto product placement is sweeping the box office this summer, as car brand product placement is ubiquitous in Hollywood blockbusters either now playing, or coming soon, to a theater near you.
Last month we previewed how a considerable number of 2015’s biggest movies boast product placement and promotional tie-ins by automotive brands, including Furious 7, Mission Impossible 5, Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Spectre, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Transporter reboot.
And if you caught new #1 movie Tomorrowland over the weekend, you’ll know that GM’s Chevrolet brand wants to put you in a Volt. The big budget Disney spectacular not only won the box office race this Memorial Day Weekend but also includes a major tie-in with Chevrolet’s electric vehicle model, the Volt.
Calling it “The Car of Tomorrow,” a special Tomorrowland video gives the Chevy Volt the Disney evolution treatment. In Disney’s mystery adventure, a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space. The all-new 2016 Volt and EN-V concepts appear in the backdrops of the present day and Tomorrowland.
As GM notes in a press release, Chevrolet and Disney have a long history of collaboration around the globe. In December 2012, the re-imagined Test Track presented by Chevrolet opened at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Test Track gives an authentic, inside-the-studio look at the actual automotive design process, while empowering guests to create their own designs, possibly inspiring the next generation of automotive designers.
Meanwhile, this summer’s upcoming bro version of the female-friendly Pitch Perfect 2, Entourage, has an auto partner of its own. In a short film made especially for the film, high-strung producer Ari Gold, as played by Jeremy Piven, bickers with his wife along the beautiful Italian coastline until he comes to the Cadillac Ciel concept convertible.
Also, Shanghai General Motors and Shanghai Disney Resort recently signed an agreement and announced that Shanghai General Motors is a Shanghai Disney Resort long-term strategic alliance participant. As the resort’s official vehicle, Chevrolet will help provide an unparalleled brand experience to the resort guests.
Pitch Perfect 2, which came in at #2 and has now passed $100 million at the box office, boasts a major automaker product placement.
In a bit of genius plot machination, Pitch Perfect 2‘s heroes meet their stereotypically German counterparts, Das Sound Machine, at a Volkwagen auto show, where “Das Auto” slogans abound (see clip above).
You’ll also see a prominent placement for Voss, with only Beats By Dre headphones not crammed into the shot. To drive the placement home, in another scene, Beca’s boyfriend Jesse drops her off in his brand new 2015 VW GTI.
Next up: Entourage, which opens on June 3rd and features a love affair with Cadillac.
The short film above is an online extra for Cadillac but also figures into the plot of the HBO series spin-off. At the end of the show’s TV run, Gold had retired from Hollywood to Italy. This Cadillac ad is a kind of prequel to the full-length movie.
In fact, a look at the Entourage trailer suggests a good percentage of of the film happens in one GM-made automobile or another.
“You want ghosts. These are your ghosts.” So the trailer introduces us to the high-concept film Pixels‘ four MINI Cooper S models.
The Mini Coopers, each intended to represent one of the four Pac Man ghosts, play a major role in the film, which opens on July 24th.
Automakers have long had a relationship with Hollywood, landing them various product placements. But this is different. These tie-ins are deliberate and well schemed, evidenced by how wound into the films’ plot and marketing they are.
For example, when producers announced the name (Spectre) of the new James Bond film last year, Aston Martin’s sexy DB10 model was not only part of the festivities but also part of the reveal. Dodge, similarly, was all over the premiere of Furious 7.
And it’s worth mentioning that it’s not just four-wheeled autos. The Avengers 2 partnership with Harley-Davidson has created a lot of buzz. All evidence points to the fact that Harley hopes to build on that buzz with return to its Terminator 2 roots with a Terminator: Genysis partnership. And BMW has a major deal with Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation that includes major placement for its motorcycles and cars.
Below, a few clips and trailers featuring these partnerships.
A final note about automakers and Hollywood: It’s not just the big screen. Car brands are also getting a lot more aggressive with product placement-influenced content on TV. For example, the latest Voice segment featuring the show’s stars and a shiny new Nissan.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) May 20, 2015