Volkswagen's first global ad campaign will tie in with the remake of the classic 1933 movie King Kong.
An ad for the Touareg premium SUV will be the first fruit of VW's global marketing alliance with Universal Studios.
VW's deal with the US film company, which was signed in January, is the German automaker's single biggest marketing project to date. VW says it chose to promote the Touareg with the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster because the SUV's on-road and off-road capabilities fit in well with the image of King Kong, a mighty gorilla that marauds through New York City.
Ad agency Grabarz & Partner of Hamburg is developing the campaign for the Touareg. The campaign will debut in the autumn before the movie's global release in December.
VW wants more motion
VW's operations in individual countries will decide whether to run the campaign or use their own ad agencies to create alternative versions.
VW marketing operations are traditionally managed at the country level.
"We can't enforce this alliance on our country operations, but which of them would not be happy for us to provide a Tom Cruise movie for their TV campaign, for example?" asked Emanuela Wilm, a VW spokeswoman for lifestyle communications.
The agreement with Universal Studios is an attempt by VW to inject more emotion into the German brand.
"VW cars are known to be established and reliable but not for having an emotional touch," said Wilm. "We're trying to emotionalize our cars and our company through co-operation with the movie business."
As part of its alliance with Universal, VW can use in its ads scenes from any of the film studio's movies.
The three-year deal, with an option to renew, is VW's only global marketing alliance.
VW theme park ride?
In addition, VW will be able to incorporate its brand into the most popular areas of Universal's theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles in the US. That could ultimately result in a VW ride, Wilm said.
VW has first right of refusal but not exclusivity over product placement in Universal's movies.
The automaker is also free to work with other entertainment companies. It has linked with Walt Disney Pictures for a new movie called Herbie Fully Loaded, which features the New Beetle in the storyline, and with Sony's Columbia TriStar movie division for Bewitched, a new film in which Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman will drive the New Beetle.
King Kong is directed by Peter Jackson, a 17-time Oscar winner. It will be in theaters everywhere starting December 14.
The movie's trailer premiered on VW's website on June 28 and for 48 hours could be seen only on that site.
Other VW marketing activities to accompany the movie are under development.