Can Marvel Streaming Shows Sell SUVs and Disney +?
Meet Loki of Asgard, god of evil and compact SUV launcher.
As Walt Disney Co.-owned Marvel unveils its latest Disney + series, “Loki,” which premiered last week, the studio’s popular superheroes have teamed up with automaker Hyundai in an elaborate campaign to promote the new Tucson and the company’s all-important streaming service.
The Marvel-produced vignettes, with links to the Marvel shows “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” and the upcoming animated “What if?” Mark the first time Disney has used multiple series in a partnership campaign to boost Disney +.
Superheroes have sold cars and other consumer goods before.
The Hulk sued Ant-Man for a can of Coke in a 2016 Super Bowl commercial ahead of the release of “Captain America: Civil War.” Chadwick Boseman drove a Lexus as the Black Panther in a 2018 spot made for this year’s big game. Hyundai worked with Marvel for an Iron Man edition of the 2019 Kona, which included an engraved Tony Stark signature.
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Elizabeth Olsen of WandaVision presents for Hyundai
Elizabeth Olsen as Marvel’s Wanda Maximoff in Hyundai Tucson Commercial
But the Disney + campaign is unusual because it uses multiple franchises to promote streaming content, said Mindy Hamilton, senior vice president of partnership marketing at Marvel Studios.
“From a streaming perspective, a campaign like this has never been done before,” she said. “I am not aware of any automatic campaign at this level in the streaming space.”
As the web of intrigue complicates the ties, the Disney-Hyundai campaign shows that studios are increasingly willing to unwrap their franchises for marketing purposes. Campaigns like this can encourage more entertainment companies to find increasingly creative ways to share their characters.
“Their willingness to use their properties and characters and open them up is very different from the past,” said Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America. “Media companies are looking at partnering with brands in a new and new way. I think everyone is much more open-minded about the future of these partnerships.
The spots feature Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson, appearing for the first time as the new Captain America since the end of “The Falcon and the Winter. Soldier “.
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In one snippet, Loki disappears with the Tesseract (as seen in “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019) before bumping into tourists and leaving in a Hyundai. The “Loki” link debuted as a short video on social media Wednesday night; it drew 2 million viewers in 24 hours, according to Disney.
The unusual advertising surge comes as Disney + and Hyundai face huge competition.
Disney is keen to focus on its lineup of original Marvel content at a time when rivals including Netflix and WarnerMedia with HBO Max are promoting their own subscription services. Netflix and Disney + have seen subscriber growth slow after a streaming boom at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For South Korea-based Hyundai, which paid Disney an undisclosed amount to do the commercials, the Tucson is battling in the competitive small SUV space against more well-known rivals including Ford, Toyota and Honda. Connecting the car to a brand as popular as Marvel could help, Zepeda said.
“People have their eyes in a lot of places, but these shows have fans,” she said. “For us, being a part of this is quite unique. “
The Marvel spots are part of a larger effort to use Disney properties, including ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” in commercials for the vehicle after Hyundai skipped the last Super Bowl, where a 30-second ad cost over $ 5 million. .
“What’s interesting is that it goes through different series,” Aimee Drolet Rossi, professor of marketing at UCLA, said of the Marvel campaign. “Whether it’s effective or not, we’ll have to wait and see. “
For Marvel, a key part of the campaign was to connect the ads to the ongoing stories of the various characters – a challenge for a franchise with a dizzying array of intrigue, personalities, and timelines. Filming the spots during the pandemic, which hampered Hollywood productions, added another layer of complications to the making of the commercials.
“We are able to step in and tell stories to the world, so it’s less about Loki being in an auto commercial,” Hamilton said.
Marvel, which Disney bought for $ 4 billion in 2009, is known to protect its intellectual property, with studio president Kevin Feige carefully guiding franchises in more than 23 Disney + films and three shows to date.
This year’s lineup includes theatrical films “Black Widow”, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, “Eternals” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, shared with Sony. Animated series “What if?” debuts on Disney + this summer. Disney + shows are essential in setting up the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with “WandaVision” setting the stage for the “Captain Marvel” and “Doctor Strange” sequels.