Universal Studios has made agreements with a select group of brand partners to promote the worldwide December 14, 2005 theatrical release of director Peter Jackson's highly-anticipated action-adventure film King Kong, it was announced today by Stephanie Sperber, Executive Vice President, Universal Studios Partnerships.
The marketing alliances, which include such globally recognized brands as Volkswagen, Kellogg's, Toshiba, Chase, the City of New York, Nestle and Burger King, represent the first full-scale implementation of the studio's new partnerships strategy under the year-old Universal Studios Partnerships (USP) division. USP was formed in June 2004 by combining Universal's theatrical and home entertainment promotions and corporate partnership groups into a single unit.
"We've listened carefully to what our partners have told us, and we have responded by creating innovative alliances that we believe will be extremely effective both for our partners and for our entertainment properties," said Sperber. "For instance, one of the things we heard from our partners was that they want a less cluttered field. So we've taken a 'quality over quantity' approach, limiting alliances to only those that provide a clear strategic fit. We also heard a desire for exclusive access to unique content and a more collaborative approach to creative campaigns, and we're thrilled to have been able to deliver both with 'King Kong'."
Highlights of the "King Kong" partnerships include:
Beginning in October, Kellogg's will offer King Kong packaging on 18 million units of breakfast cereal available in 24,000 retail locations nationwide. The packages will include 18 oz. "Collector's Packs" of Kellogg's Corn Flakes as well as Kong-emblazoned 15 oz. boxes of Apple Jacks and Corn Pops. All of the special packages will contain an offer for a free King Kong t-shirt. Kellogg's will be executing additional promotions in international territories.
The Nestle campaign, which also kicks off in October, will include King Kong packaging graphics featured on more than 10 million units of the company's top-selling candy bars including Nestle® Crunch®, Butterfinger® and Baby Ruth®. Nestle's King bars will feature an instant-win sweepstakes, while the company's Beast bars will be promoted as King Kong Limited Edition Bars during the campaign.
As part of its previously announced global strategic alliance with NBC Universal, Volkswagen continues its King Kong campaign in September at the auto industry's premiere event, the upcoming IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt. During the exhibition, which runs September 15-25, Volkswagen plans an impressive King Kong presence, including presentations of the trailer and behind-the-scenes production footage for the expected one million show visitors.
Volkswagen's worldwide King Kong promotions will expand in November with television, print, outdoor and online campaigns as well as in-store displays at Volkswagen dealerships, sweepstakes and giveaways. The company also will have a significant presence at King Kong's U.S. and international premieres.
"The worldwide excitement surrounding the release of 'King Kong' makes it the ideal property with which to launch our new marketing partnership with Universal Studios," said Joern Hinrichs, Head of Volkswagen Global Marketing. "And we think that this highly anticipated film fits well to the promotion of the Touareg, with its off-road capabilities and ability to move confidently from rugged jungle outposts to city streets."
Volkswagen's King Kong promotions started June 27, 2005, when it hosted the exclusive online debut of the film's trailer for 48 hours. Viewers of the NBC networks' King Kong "roadblock" were directed to Volkswagen.com if they wanted to see the trailer again. The result was a 100-fold traffic increase to the VW site.
Chase will offer a Limited Edition King Kong Universal Entertainment MasterCard that gives cardmembers the opportunity to earn points towards Universal products including DVDs, movie tickets and gift cards. Chase will support the launch of the limited edition credit card roll-out with branded direct mail packages as well as online and event marketing. Consumers can pre-register for the Kong Card at KingKongmovie.com.
"With the 'King Kong' credit card, Chase is able to demonstrate a unique approach to leveraging what promises to be Universal's biggest movie release of 2005," said Joe Venuti, Senior Vice President for JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Card Services Division. "The launch of the card extends our promotional presence beyond the theatrical window and into an everyday interaction with our customers. It gives movie enthusiasts a chance to easily earn rewards and experience 'King Kong' in a whole new way."
Chase will also have a presence at King Kong's New York premiere and participate in cross-promotional efforts with the City of New York that will populate the city with significant outdoor media and other grass-roots marketing tactics.
Starting in December, approximately 7,500 U.S. Burger King locations will begin serving limited-run King Kong-themed menu items. The company will support the products, which are targeted at adult consumers, with television and online campaigns as well as point-of-sale displays. Burger King is also promoting King Kong in a number of its international territories.
"Movie fans with king-sized appetites can expect big things at Burger King locations worldwide when we bring the larger-than-life world of 'King Kong' off-screen and into our restaurants," said Brian Gies, Vice President, Marketing Impact, Burger King Corporation. "Many of our adult customers are familiar with the legendary original film and are eagerly awaiting celebrated director Peter Jackson's film."
King Kong is the first film to enjoy a marketing alliance with the City of New York. The city's role will including hosting the U.S. premiere of the film. Details will be announced at a later date.
Toshiba will provide a significant global media campaign in support for King Kong, including television, print and online campaigns tied to its new home and personal entertainment products in major territories including the U.S. and Japan.
Several of the corporate partners announced today, including Volkswagen, Kellogg's, Toshiba, Chase, Nestle and New York City, will also be involved in cross-promotional efforts for King Kong's home entertainment release. Universal has been an industry leader in alliances across multiple entertainment distribution platforms. DVD-exclusive partnerships will be announced in the future.
King Kong director Peter Jackson and his colleagues have taken an active role in the partnership process, participating in a global summit on the film's New Zealand locations, where key executives from partner corporations experienced an immersive tour of all facets of the production. In an unprecedented move, select partner TV commercials for King Kong are being developed in conjunction with the King Kong production company, with digital effects produced by Weta Digital, Jackson's award-winning effects company. This was done to ensure seamless presentation of the "Kong" assets tied to brand images. "This lends our partners' spots a level of authenticity that only the filmmakers could bring," said Sperber. "It also allows for unique product integration with a film in which there is no modern-day product placement."
Universal Pictures' King Kong, a new version of the classic adventure story first brought to the screen in the 1933 RKO motion picture, is directed by triple-Academy Award® winner Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) and stars Oscar® nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams, The Ring), Jack Black (School of Rock) and Oscar® winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist). It is co-written by Jackson's three-time Oscar®-winning partner Fran Walsh, their "Lord of the Rings" co-writer Philippa Boyens and Jackson. King Kong is produced by Jan Blenkin, Carolynne Cunningham, Walsh and Jackson under their WingNut Films banner. The film will be released worldwide on December 14, 2005.