March 20th, 2008

Mercedes Gets All Dolled Up

By Jean Halliday
Advertising Age

Auto Brand Touts Its Role in 'Sex and the City' Movie

Mercedes-Benz USA will likely spend a “few million dollars” advertising its product integration in New Line Cinema’s upcoming big-screen version of the hit HBO series “Sex and the City,” VP-Marketing Steve Canon told Advertising Age during the New York International Auto Show.

The movie’s director, Michael Patrick King, will helm the Mercedes-Benz co-branded effort breaking on national U.S. TV, Mr. Canon said. The automaker’s national creative agency of record, Merkley & Partners, New York, will work closely with New Line Cinema, one of the producers and the film’s U.S. distributor, to develop the ads, he said.

The automaker is also studying whether to stage private screenings for owners and prospects or special ticket offers, Mr. Canon said.

Once more, with fashion
The brand’s German parent, Daimler AG, inked a global deal for product placement in the film, which opens in U.S. theaters May 30. But the moviemakers expanded the placement-only deal, telling Mercedes-Benz they wanted to do a scene in the movie at New York’s Fashion Week, which the automaker sponsors. “We put the tents back up in New York City” for the re-creation of the fashion event, Mr. Canon said.

All four of the popular TV show’s four female friends will appear in the film, which opens globally first in the U.K. and Belgium May 28, followed by Germany and Israel May 29. Actress Kim Cattrall, who again plays Samantha, appeared at a Mercedes-Benz press conference at the Detroit auto show early this year. Actor Chris Noth, who reprises his role as Mr. Big, is expected to be chauffeured in a Mercedes S Class in the film. The GLK SUV is due in another scene.

“Not every movie calls for this type of promotion” from Mercedes-Benz, Mr. Canon said. But he expects “Sex and the City: The Movie” to skew highly female, which he said is a great audience for his brand.

By comparison, Mercedes-Benz USA promoted its late 2007 partnership with Walt Disney Pictures’ “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” with online gaming and no TV spots. Mercedes had a redone 2008 model C350 sport sedan and GL SUV in the movie.

Separately, Mr. Canon said the automaker has expanded its fleet of vehicles in Hollywood from 45 to 60 because it had to turn down too many movie opportunities.


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