February 27, 2007
Transforming Brand Name Cars Into Movie Stars
If the names “Bumblebee™,” “Autobot Jazz®,” “Autobot Ratchet®” and “Ironhide®” mean nothing to you, then you're not the target market for the new Transformers movie.
GM is aiming to create an association between its brand name and the movie, linking itself with toy giant Hasbro and the entire Transformers product line, which analysts expect will make a huge comeback this year.
Autobot Jazz transforms into a Pontiac Solstice, Autobot Ratchet turns into a Hummer H2, and Ironhide turns into a GMC TopKick medium-duty truck. Pretty cool...but some fans are a little miffed about Bumblebee, who, back in the day, transformed into a very recognizable...VW Beetle. Now he’s a buffed Camaro.
More than that, we are likely to see a Transformers line of GM cars. They will not actually transform into anything, but Jessica Barnes reports that they will probably simply be special versions of the above-mentioned models with “an Autobots or Decepticon” on the back.
Bloggers are asking the logical question: will product placement in a kids movie prompt adults to buy the cars? Well, millions of adults actually will be seeing the movie: those who are dragged there by their kids, and those who have already booked their tickets (and probably have a few Transformer toys lying around the basement.)
If VW can successfully place a car in Curious George, then more extensions are likely.
This is another excellent example of the growth of product placement in entertainment, which, according to Mother Jones, was worth $3.5 billion in 2004, a 200% increase from 1994. Some GM brands, in fact, live on only in reruns (and our hearts), like the now defunct Oldsmobile, for example.
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