The traditionally conservative auto industry, which is becoming more daring in its attempts to break through the advertising clutter, is using more advertainment and pop culture to do it.
Auto marketers are making deals with video gamers, music stars or up-and-comers and moving into sophisticated integrated promotions.
Consider General Motors' Cadillac division. Its CTS sedan and Escalade EXT truck get heavy exposure in Warner Bros.' long-awaited The Matrix Reloaded, which arrives in theaters this month.
Mark LaNeve, Cadillac marketing general manager, says ads showing his brand's vehicles in the movie have a "cultlike following (that) we think is terrific."
Cadillac's vehicles also appear in the new video game "Enter the Matrix," which is based on the movie.
Dennis Donlin, president of General Motors Planworks, GM's dedicated media planning and research agency, says such deals don't always translate into immediate sales, "but you can immediately change image and perception" of the brands.