Spinning the Web with Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 trailers aired by Sony Pictures were squarely out-numbered by Spider-Man 3 based promotions run by other companies. Tune in to any television channel and you will run into ads from Comcast, Trix and Kraft featuring Spider-Man 3. Turn on the radio and 7-Eleven spot will catch your attention. Go to Burger King or Walmart, and you will see the Spider-Man 3 promotions going on there. Walk down the Times Square, and you will see large Spider-Man sculptures in Virgin Store, Toys R Us and M&M World welcoming you in the stores.

Spider-Man 3 is a great example of network marketing at its very best. The movie that broke World box office record in its opening week partnered with about a dozen companies for promotion. Comcast, 7-Eleven, General Mills, Kraft, Walmart, Burger King, Toys R Us and others ran Spider-Man 3 advertisements. In fact, just General Mills, Kraft, Burger King and Comcast spent a cumilative of $100 million airing custom spots, many of which produced in-house at Sony Pictures with the help of the studio. Sony Pictures leveraged the brand name of Spider-Man extensively to make the most of the third addition of the Spidey movies.

This prompts a question that out of hundreds of movies coming out every year, why do advertisers jump onto a select few to spend millions? I think among other things, it depends on how well the movie is branded. The Spider-Man brand has a lot of good things going for it. Firstly, the brand got a solid establishment from the first two Spidey movies. Secondly, the universal appeal of the Spider-Man to everyone from a kid to an adult adds to the scope of branding. Another very important thing about the movie, which pulled in a lot of partners, is the creative concept of a simple person gaining extraordinary powers by donning a mask. This gives an “aspirational” value to the movie. The partner companies were able to target their customers by interpreting this value within their own World.

To create a successful partner network, the central entity should have enough meat that can be shared with all the partners. Thats so much true with Spider-Man 3. Spider-Man theme gives a lot of space for partners to evolve it and grow it in their own Worlds. Like Activision, another partner of Sony Pictures, is coming up with a Spider-Man 3 video game late in the year. Burger King developed a scratch-and-win game in which customer choose to reveal what’s behind their red-and-blue or black spidey, with a 50% chance of winning a prize everytime they play. The prize list includes some top prizes worth a million dollars making it even more attractive. Burger King also designed a kids meal promotion with 10 different Spider-Man theme toys to attract kids. Mass retailers like Walmart and Target have interesting activities related to Spider-Man World to attract customers to their stores. 

All these partnerships gave scope to the partners to attract customers with the help of the blockbuster movie. One deal that worked really well for Sony Pictures is the partnership with Comcast as a media partner. Sony studio lacking the TV network to promote the movie, hooked up with Comcast to do that for them. Comcast being the largest cable television provider in US came up with a special on-demand channel featuring exclusive Spider-Man 3 content and increasing the excitment for the movie. Along with this, it also kick-started the buzz for what is said to be the forth and final addition of the Spidey movies with an exclusive trailer. 

One of the most important things in order to do the integrated marketing correctly is the choice of right partners, and looking at these examples, Sony Pictures should be given full credit for doing a wonderful job in that space. All this brought together makes Spider-Man 3 a perfect example of integrated marketing efforts, and another example to show the overall power of integration!

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