Posted by Malory Beazley | Posted in advertisements , New Moon , product placement | Posted on 6:29 PM
“Stupid, shiny Volvo owner.” Is one of Bella Swan’s many descriptions of the vampiric Adonis that is Edward Cullen.
With the Twilight Saga’s newly-acquired blockbuster status, it was only a matter of time before corporate America started sucking the life blood out of the literary and theatrical phenomenon. Everybody who was anybody knew that linking their product to the Twilight Saga would have ‘tween’-age girls (and Twi-moms alike) lining up at their stores begging for their very own piece of the fantasy, however unrelated and obscure the product might be.
The cosmetic industry wasted no time in transforming and recreating their products to capitalize on an easy target market: the hysterical, frenzied and giggly ‘Twihard’ mobs. After all, aren’t vampires supposed to be the most beautifully flawless creatures in existence? Now you can be too!
With the advent of the Twilight Beauty brand of makeup in 2009 (corresponding to the worldwide theatrical release of ‘New Moon,’ the second film in the saga), teen girls all over the world are now able to delve even deeper into their fantasies of transforming into the average, yet adored-by-gorgeous-monsters, Bella Swan. Women can “highlight their own radiance” with the ‘Luna Twilight’ line of mascara, eye shadow and lip gloss; or express their “Undying Beauty” with the ‘Volturi Twilight’ line of body mists and eye primers. In fact, they even throw in a tube of ‘Twilight Venom’ lip plumping serum, which “should be shaken before use to represent the blending of the human and vampire worlds.”
In addition to cosmetics, it is unlikely that author Stephenie Meyer could predict that her inclusion of the Volvo brand name in her books would have the potential to ignite such a powerful and effective (not to mention attractive) advertising campaign. Corresponding again with the ‘New Moon’ theatrical release, Volvo’s ‘What Drives Edward’ competition attracted a whopping 370,000 online entries in just three weeks. The prize? A shiny new Volvo XC60, just like the one Edward Cullen drives in the second film. Volvo’s national advertising manager, Linda Gangeri, says, “It was a missed opportunity in the first film because the car had actually four minutes in the film, which is unheard of in product placement. It did really well without us doing anything, so with the second film we worked with the studio to develop a global program.”
In other words, this time around Volvo did not hesitate to capitalize on this product placement in one of the most popular theatrical releases of the decade. And not without controversy: the famed Cullen-mobile is famous for being shiny and silver (like in the books and the first Twilight movie), yet Volvo was successfully able to convince Summit Entertainment to substitute this entrenched image for a newer model (colour black) in ‘New Moon’ (a move that was accompanied by the horrified screams of a million tween girls).
But, Volvo prevailed in the end. In an interesting marketing tactic (I call it a 'trailer-tisement'), the commercial for the XC60 model was remarkably similar to the actual New Moon trailer (see below). In fact, Volvo’s Global Marketing Manager, Paul Walder, even goes as far as to suggest that “More younger people think that Volvo is ‘cool’ because Edward drives one and this will impact on their future car buying decision making.” While it might seem unlikely that Volvo’s 4.49% increase in sales (as compared with 2008) can be attributed to just one successful marketing campaign, I might respond with this:
Never underestimate the power of the Twihards.
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