Why You Will See Kahlua in Upcoming Zach Galifianakis Flick

Pernod Ricard Strikes Branded-Entertainment Deal With Relativity's Madvine

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Zach Galifianakis in 'The Hangover Part III.'
Zach Galifianakis in 'The Hangover Part III.' Credit: Warner Bros.

Madvine, the five-month-old branded-entertainment arm of media company Relativity, has struck a multi-year, exclusive deal with global liquor marketer Pernod Ricard that will include product placement in an upcoming film starring Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Kristen Wiig.

Madvine, whose name combines Madison Avenue and Hollywood's Vine Street, seeks to go beyond traditional product placement by strategically weaving client brands into Relativity's productions. Relativity runs film and TV studios as well as divisions representing fashion and sports talent. Madvine also has access to Relativity's digital-content studio.

Clients get access to Relativity's properties at early stages. "The premise of Madvine is how do we strategically partner with brands that see the world as we do and integrate the brand into the content, as opposed to interrupting the content, as has been done in the past with traditional advertising," Madvine CEO Danny Stepper said. "The brand is actually involved at script level," he added, and has a "seat at the table with the director. It's more than just a product placement."

The Pernod deal is exclusive, meaning Madvine will not partner with other liquor companies. The pact will primarily feature Absolut Vodka, Absolut Elyx (a new premium vodka), Malibu Rum and Kahlua. Madvine did not disclose exact terms other than to say it was a "multi-million dollar deal."

As part of the deal, the Kahlua brand will be integrated into an upcoming Relativity movie starring Mr. Galifianakis, Mr. Wilson and Ms. Wiig that has a working title of "Untitled Armored Car Project."

Pernod and Madvine are also discussing integrations into TV shows and digital content, Mr. Stepper said.

Jonas Tahlin, VP of global marketing for Absolut, said in a statement that the partnership "allows Pernod Ricard to utilize unprecedented access to key audiences in an authentic way. This relationship will take brand integration to the next level."

The deal follows a similar pact Madvine struck with Evian, which is marketed by Danone Waters North America. The water brand will be integrated into Relativity's upcoming film, "The Best of Me," which is a love story based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. Madvine is also creating a TV spot for the brand and is involved in retail promotions with 7-Eleven.

"The Best of Me" uses only certain colors when the two lead characters are shown together, including the color red, which is also the color of Evian's logo, Mr. Stepper said. Red is not used in scenes when the two leads are not together, he said.

Relativity is also finalizing a deal with an unnamed National Basketball Association player that it represents to become an Evian brand ambassador.