Porsche Cars North America Inc. is crafting its first integrated promotion with a Hollywood film.
The New Line Cinema action thriller, called Cellular, is an example of how automakers extend their ties to the entertainment industry beyond typical product placement.
Porsche's 911 Turbo Cabriolet and Cayenne V-6 SUV figure prominently in the film's plot.
Cellular stars Kim Basinger as a kidnap victim who calls for help on her cell phone. But she has no idea of where she is, and the charge on her phone battery is slowly running out.
Porsche plans events at dealerships that will show the movie's trailer. It also will promote the film by e-mail and in publications that go to Porsche owners.
The automaker will offer 40,000 Cayenne sales prospects two tickets to the movie in exchange for a test drive, says Karen Henry, manager of dealer and retention marketing at Porsche Cars North America.
Dealers in Chicago and Atlanta are inviting 5,000 owners to a Sept. 9 preview of the film.
The movie's scheduled release date is Sept. 17.
Basinger and other stars will ride in Porsche vehicles to the movie's premiere.
The automaker will give away a Cayenne in a consumer sweepstakes tied to the premiere.
"Porsche gives us access to a slightly older, more moneyed demographic that we wouldn't be marketing directly to," says Lance Still, New Line Cinema's senior vice president of national promotions.
Director David Ellis tweaked the script to enhance the Cayenne's visibility in the movie.
Ellis filmed additional content with the Porsche vehicles for the film's DVD release.
Automakers have forged ties with studios for several recent films. Jaguar linked with Warner Bros.' Catwoman for product placement and movie-themed ads.
Audi of America Inc. built a custom car for 20th Century Fox's I, Robot. It also launched a multimedia ad campaign linked to the futuristic thriller.
For The Pacifier, a new comedy-action movie starring Vin Diesel, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. provided eight Sienna minivans, a Toyota spokeswoman says.
The minivan gets plenty of screen time as Diesel's character tries to protect a government scientist's five children, teaching one to drive the Sienna.
A Hollywood insider says the movie offers "the most exposure for a minivan in 26 years."
T.L. Stanley and Jean Halliday write for Advertising Age, a sister publication to Automotive News.