Twilight Eclipse: Marketing Through Movies

Twilight Eclipse
Summit Entertainment
Twilight Eclipse

Twilight Saga: Eclipse is on track for a huge opening Wednesday, and along with Summit, the studio behind the series, a slew of marketing partners are hoping their investment in the movie pays off.

"Eclipse" marketing partners, including Hot Topic, Nordstrom , Volvo, and Burger King , are spending an estimated eighty to ninety million dollars on promotions around the film.

From TV and newspaper ads to retail displays, these brands are looking to align their image with cult favorite Twilight.

Why do marketers partner with movies?

Very simply, the studios need the advertising support their partners provide. The cost of advertising movies continues to rise, so what better way to reach a broad audience than have someone else pay for it. "Iron Man,"the gold standard for movie marketing, drew $100 million in marketing spending from a dozen partners. And if everything goes as planned, it's a win-win for the studio and the marketer.

Burger King's investment in "Eclipse" is a prime example — its spending an estimated $10 million to $15 million in an aggressive campaign, including TV commercials as well as games on Facebook and in its restaurants. Burger King's talking to Twilight fans in a language they understand, asking: "Who will you choose: Team Edward or Team Jacob?"

The investment pays off — Burger King tells us that its most successful promotions yield a double-digit percentage increase in foot traffic and sales. This high return on investment keeps the fast food chain spending on two to three entertainment tie-ins each year. Burger King has to commit to partnerships 12 to 18 months in advance, so it can be hard to predict if a movie will be a hit, but when they get it right, it means a huge boost for the six weeks of the promotion.

Nordstrom seems an unlikely partner for Twilight, but it's taking advantage of the film's appeal to a younger generation to get tweens and teen fans into its department stores.

Volvo is building on the huge reaction fans had to seeing vampire Edward driving one of its cards in the first film. Volvo realized it could expand on the product placement — it's built a TV commercial around Edward driving its car, supporting that placement with a contest to win the featured car. Twilight's teen fans may not be able to afford a Volvo (or even be old enough to drive one), but it certainly builds an affinity for the brand, and gets channel surfers to pause when they see the ad.

The real winner in these partnerships may be movie studios, which are struggling with growing marketing costs. Tens of millions of additional marketing support can help manage costs and create the necessary buzz to drive ticket sales. Studios' challenge is making sure that promotions are a good fit with the movie, so they don't turn off fans.

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