BLOODY R-RATED FILM SCORES UNUSUAL PRODUCT TIE-IN

New Line's 'Blade: Trinity' Co-Markets 'Vampire' Energy Drink

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LOS ANGELES -- A small Los Angeles-based company called Transylvania Imports hopes to put itself and its caffeine-charged energy drink Vamp on the map with young goth-loving consumers by linking up with New Line Cinema's vampire-killer thriller Blade: Trinity.
The energy drink Vamp features black cans with blood-red logos and lettering.



The promotional deal takes Transylvania Imports where few marketers have gone in the product tie-in business. Brands historically are shy about linking up with R-rated movies, even if the films appeal to the lucrative young-male demographic.

Bloody holiday action

An added hurdle with Blade: Trinity is that the bloody action movie has been purposely scheduled as counterprogramming against warm and fuzzy holiday fare. It was moved from a crowded summer schedule to Dec. 8, in hopes of attracting teens and young adults not likely to be interested in family movies such as Christmas With the Kranks and The Incredibles or Oscar contenders like Finding Neverland and The Aviator.

"It's an important endorsement for us," said Michael Machat, president of Transylvania Imports. "We couldn't afford to pay what stars of this caliber might ask for."

Blade: Trinity, starring Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds, is the third in a movie series that's already brought in more than $150 million at the domestic box office. The DVD versions continue to be strong sellers. Even so, finding partners was a challenge.

Transylvania Imports has created 500,000 cans of its Vamp N.R.G. drink with the Blade: Trinity logo and details of a "Nocturnal Underground" sweepstakes. The energy drink, which has been available in some markets for about a year, is
The energy drink Vamp features black cans with blood-red logos and lettering.

just now rolling out nationwide at 5,600 7-Eleven stores. The retailer will promote Blade with signs in the coolers where Vamp is stocked.

Vampire.com sweepstakes

The beverage company also will launch a radio campaign and outdoor ads on phone kiosks, city buses and high-traffic spots in major markets. The accompanying sweepstakes, which sends a winner to the movie's premiere, gets online exposure across a number of sites, including Transylvania Imports' Vampire.com.

"So much marketing and promotion around the holidays centers on get-together messages and family," said Lance Still, New Line's senior vice president of national promotions. "This movie is dark, but with great strong characters and good humor. It's escapism."

For Transylvania Imports, which markets products like Dracola soda and Vampyre Vodka, it's a heady brush with Hollywood stardom. The filmmakers were familiar with the company's products and asked Transylvania Imports to supply some for the shoot. Though Vamp was in an early cut of the movie, the drink didn't make the final version that will appear in theaters. Instead, it will show up in the DVD release as part of a deleted scene.

It's not unusual for products to get axed from movies, even after complicated co-marketing deals have been forged. For instance, Heineken had some face time in The Matrix Reloaded until the editing process left its scenes on the cutting-room floor. The marketer launched a successful promotion around the movie anyway.

Best Buy, FYE and Trans World

In addition to the Vamp promo, New Line also pulled in retail partners Best Buy, FYE and Trans World for the movie. Best Buy created a 10-market screening program with passes doled out at the stores, along with a $3 discount on the first two Blade movies on DVD. An Entertainment Weekly ad supports the offer.

The Blade: Trinity trailer is running in 570 FYE stores, with details of an online sweepstakes that gives away a motorcycle like the one driven by Mr. Snipes' character. The first two Blade movie DVDs and the sound track have stickers explaining the contest.

Trans World, FYE's parent company, is giving away free Blade posters with purchase of the sound track or DVDs, with signs and trailers in its 832 stores. Magazines such as FHM and Hollywood Life are giving away movie tickets, DVDs and other loot.

"We're not trying to shout the loudest," Ms. Still said. "It's about getting in front of the right audience and getting valuable impressions."
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