Mercedes-Benz is close to signing a major promotional deal with Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment for next year's sequel to "Jurassic Park."
The dino deal would be the first for a new unit created last week by Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, Mercedes-Benz North America's ad agency, to find entertainment-related marketing opportunities for the luxury auto marketer.
Lowe/SMS Chairman Marvin Sloves said there have been talks with Universal and Amblin but "no papers have been signed." He also said there have been talks with "a lot of others."
Others familiar with the talks said a deal is close. Mercedes officials couldn't be reached.
FAR-REACHING DEAL EYED
If a deal is signed, it will be far-reaching, Mr. Sloves said. "We want to create marketing opportunities that give the client much more than product placement."
He said BMW of North America's 1995 promotional tie-in with the James Bond film "GoldenEye" was a "brilliant" example of brand-building through entertainment marketing, adding, "We want to do things like that but that are even more extensive."
BMW's new Z3 roadster was featured prominently in "GoldenEye" and launch ads for the car used footage from the movie.
The new Lowe unit, Lowe & Partners/SMS Entertainment, will be based in Los Angeles and run by Lida Bogert, formerly director of feature film and video promotions for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
The unit initially will serve only Mercedes. While Lowe's relationship with Mercedes includes only North American operations, the entertainment unit will look for deals that Mercedes can leverage around the world.
Building on the global success of "Jurassic Park," the "The Lost World" sequel would fit that bill.
Mercedes' interest in the sequel is almost certainly pegged to the planned '97 launch of its first sport-utility vehicle. "Jurassic Park" gave Ford Motor Co. a boost as its human characters rode Ford Explorers.
"Increasingly, our clients are not only looking to involve themselves as advertisers, but as developers of unique programming that connects them emotionally to the lifestyles of their audiences and customers," Mr. Sloves said. "In the process they build a stronger sense of consumer loyalty and identification with their brands."
Contributing: Jeff Jensen, Jean Halliday.
Copyright June 1996 Crain Communications Inc.