Marvel-ous Cinemarketing: The Avengers unleash massive promo mojo

Cinemas Features

Given the popularity and built-in power of brand recognition that The Avengers have enjoyed, one marvels (yes, marvels!) at the super-heroic efforts that were unleashed–from Kohl’s to Kellogg’s, and from Samsung to Subway–in support of THE Summer 2015 Kick-Off Movie Event. (Please pardon our comic cadences throughout this piece. Punctuation is mightier than the pen. Pow!!)

One wonders why would we need to do anything but hang the one-sheet, book seven out of 12 screens, and schedule shows in five-minute increments. Except open the doors and register drawers? Not in this business. Filmmakers, actors, producers, studio and distribution executives, theatre owners, managers and ushers all pitched in to make Age of Ultron the ultimate success.

When it comes to “cinemarketing,” there is no resting on franchise laurels, and no staying comfortably protected behind iron suits and star-encrusted shields. (No way!!) The combined promotional powers of Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Entertainment displayed all the might of Thor’s hammer and fine Quicksilver speed. And instead of hulking and being green with envy, the industry was thrilled to launch our summer season at yet another record-setting pace.

There is no doubt that the Marvel universe has been fully integrated into the Disney organization, enjoying access to and throughout all channels globally. The mighty fine lineup of marketing partners includes–in alphabetical order–Audi, Doritos, Dr. Pepper, Gillette, Hasbro, Kellogg’s, Lego, Nesquik, Samsung and Subway, while Disney Consumer Products made sure that (r)etailers like Amazon, Kohl’s, Target and Walmart were stuffed full with Avengers-style wear and gear.

For this edition of Cinemarketing," this author selected merely two examples that should provide additional building blocks for future activities and will satisfy our readers’ hunger for ideas–and we are not talking about “a balanced breakfast with Nesquik." “Shaving rebuilt with Avengers-inspired technology” (from Stark Industries, no less) certainly deserved more of our attention. What’s not to admire about a razor that “scorches hair to the follicle with micro lightening”? Nonetheless, selections were made over lunchtime (and with a rumbling stomach) and Frito-Lay and Subway won that particular marketing match!

“We know our consumers are always looking for the best and boldest experiences [just like moviegoers, we might add],” said Jeff Klein, VP of marketing at Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. “This collaboration with Marvel gives them the chance to do just that–against the backdrop of the most anticipated movie of the year.” For the multi-tiered collaboration, Frito-Lay selected its Doritos brand, mostly for the (not-so) free association of bold actions and bold flavor. Through their packaging, six different Doritos tortilla chips and snacks were likened to an Avengers superhero. While “Cool Ranch” and Captain America or the Incredible Hulk with “Jacked 3D Jalapeno Pepper Jack” certainly sound like a match, this author has to wonder about Black Widow “Jacked Ranch Dipped Hot Wings.” (She can fly??) With the teaming of Iron Man and “Nacho Cheese,” one can easily see Tony Stark being amused by the irony of it all. And can’t we all just picture Thor smashing his hammer into a bowl of “Spicy Nacho.” Holy “Dinamita Chile Limon”!!

Free subs for life, movie tickets and more are at stake when entering codes found on 30-oz. Avengers-themed drink cups and Doritos 3D Jacked bags (the hunky-hulky ones) at Subway restaurants (at press time, the franchise counts 43,839 in 110 countries!) also keep the kids happy with “a new Avengers 3D play kit."

In other places, too, Frito-Lay added sweepstakes entry codes, offering 41 days with 41 daily prizes, “ranging from a limited-edition Captain America shield to a trip for two to visit Avengers’ film locations in South Africa.” Those hungry fans who collect all six Avengers-flavored products are eligible to win bonus prizes. The partnership with Marvel is global and “available to Doritos fans” in more than 20 countries, Frito-Lay noted. Six additional winners who released “their inner Super Hero by completing an Avengers-themed ‘Bold Challenge,’” as evidenced on, received “the ultimate reward” of attending the London premiere of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron at the Vue Westfield Cinema.

The Vue Westfield also provides the backdrop for the largest LEGO statue in the United Kingdom. The “life-size” Hulk Buster Smash model stands over 2.5 meters high and 2.3 meters wide (8.2 by 7.55 feet), weighs a ton and took six professional builders over 960 hours to create with over a million LEGO bricks. The “most for any LEGO statue built in the U.K.,” the company added.

Until next month, we thank all film- and cinemarketers for all that heavy lifting.