Movie Campaigns Often Give Short Shrift to Promotional Partners

The biggest movies have the most promotional partner companies. It stands to reason, as there are more opportunities to work modern products and fancy cars into an Avengers of Fast and the Furious movie than a period drama from Yorgos Lanthimos.

It’s one of the many reasons these big movies are so popular with studios. The campaigns mounted by those partner companies, many of which include footage or imagery from the movies, frequently result in tens if not millions of dollars in additional media exposure. Items used in the making of those movies can reduce production costs as well.

It’s surprising, then, that more attention isn’t being spent on how the studios themselves promote those partner companies.

On the official websites for these big movies, the “Partners” section usually has logos or icons for those companies, with links to their websites. Those links are likely part of the deal that’s signed, but those links are often not the best ones to show off what exactly that company is doing in support of the movie or what promotions they’re using the movie to run on their own.

As an example, let’s look at what links are used in that part of the website for Hobbs and Shaw compared to what links more fully show the campaigns run by those signing on to be part of that high profile release.

Hobbs and shaw partner page.png

Brisk – This one is actually on-point. The link from the website goes to, the page where people can find out about that company’s partnership with Universal to find an independent creator and let them make something new to promote both parties. If anything, that page falls short in that it doesn’t show all the behind-the-scenes videos and other spots that were generated.

McClaren – On the other hand, the link goes to McClaren’s front page, not to any sort of landing page about how McClaren provided cars for the movie or mounted an Omaze campaign in conjunction with it.

Trendy Butler – Here too is an example of getting it more or less right, with the link going to a landing page for a movie-based quiz. Still, that’s pretty thin.

Turo – And we’re back to the other end of the spectrum, with a link to the homepage for the company instead of a page with more information on the car collection it created based on the characters of Hobbs and Shaw.

So of the four companies linked, half get it essentially right while the other half are an example of missed opportunities.

In all cases, though, what’s missing from the link is any sort of immediate call to action the visitor can take. If part of the point of the co-branded TV spots and other tactics used by those companies signing on to movie campaigns is to increase the attention paid to the movie itself, the movies aren’t really returning the favor.

Entertainment media and marketing trades frequently tout how much media support has been given by promotional partners in support of recent movies. Far less coverage – almost none to my recollection – is devoted to the estimated value of the support provided by the studios for the companies they’re dealing with. That support is limited to the website links and the occasional retweet or @ mention along with branding that may be on display at a premiere’s red carpet event or elsewhere. My guess is it’s a fraction of what flows in the other direction.

Given the massive support provided by their ancillary campaigns, it’s somewhat surprising the companies working with studios aren’t asking for a bit more, something that may not reach parity in terms of media value but certainly closer. These co-branded campaigns should in may regards be as front-and-center as the ones for the movies themselves.

Otherwise, what exactly are they paying for?

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Marketing Recap

You can read my full recap of the marketing campaign for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw at The Hollywood Reporter.

Online and Social

Nothing particularly surprising on the movie’s official website, just the usual mix of marketing materials along with links to social profiles.

Media and Press

The two stars were jointly interviewed about the over-the-top story and the continuation of the F&TF franchise.

As the marketing for this film was well underway news broke that producer Neal Moritz, who had been with the franchise since the beginning, was being removed from future films by Universal, their patience with his confrontational style having reached its end. More immediately, it contended he had no standing as producer on this film since it didn’t fall under the terms of his contract because it was a spinoff of the franchise, one the studio needed to cultivate for future expansions and sequels.

A profile of Johnson focused on how this is just the latest in a string of films featuring the actor saving the world in some manner. A couple months later an EW cover story focused on Elba and his addition to the franchise as well as how he and the other two stars meshed during production.

There was also a profile of Elba on his own that covered his career and why he’s made the choices he has, including signing on to this project.

Johnson’s work to present the Samoan siva tau war dance in an authentic way – and the impact it had on him and his family – was the subject of another interview with the actor. Director David Leitch was also profiled, with the focus being on his status as one of Hollywood’s go-to guys for action films.

Late night TV appearances included Elba talking with Colbert as well as Kirby and Johnson on “Fallon.”

Kirby, who (despite a notable age difference) played Statham’s sister and Johnson’s love interest, finally got a profile of her own. Also getting a turn in the spotlight was the stunt and effects team that added their flair to the movie.

More from Leitch on certain secrets of the movie’s story here. The director was also featured in an IMAX promo video while the format company created its own short spot for the movie.


Picking Up the Spare

Leitch continued to talk about the pressure he felt taking his first stab at the franchise.

Adweek details a Snapchat sponsored AR lens that added some of the movie’s vehicles to people’s surroundings.