MERCEDES-'LOST WORLD' LINK SPANS U.S., EUROPE CARMAKER'S COMMITMENT TOPS $8 MIL FOR PROMOTIONS

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Mercedes-Benz of North America and its German parent plan several promotions linked to its sponsorship of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," arriving at U.S. theaters Memorial Day weekend.

In the U.S. alone, Mercedes' estimated promotion commitment to Steven Spielberg's sequel is $8 million. That includes toy versions of the new M-Class all-activity vehicle appearing in the film, and a tie-in with Timberland Co., another global sponsor of the movie.

M-CLASS ADS ON VIDEO

A key part of the worldwide marketing deal between Mercedes and MCA/Universal and Amblin Entertainment calls for one or two M-Class ads on the home-video version of the film, said Jochen Placking, manager for marketing communications of the carmaker in Stuttgart.

Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, will handle Mercedes' advertising, including home-video ads in the U.S., said Richard Anderman, general manager of marketing communications at Mercedes' North American headquarters.

The video release date hasn't been set, but it could come sometime in 1998.

Mercedes in Germany will handle promotions as the movie moves overseas, Mr. Anderman said. M-Class goes on sale in Europe next year.

Mercedes' European-only Unimog commercial truck also will be in the film, driven by the "bad guys." The "good guys" drive a modified version of the M-Class, which goes on sale in the U.S. this fall.

In the U.S., Tyco Toys will make a small model of the vehicle, with Hasbro offering a larger size and Revell-Monogram an assembly kit.

In the joint effort with Timberland, Ryan Partnership, Westport, Conn., developed a contest dubbed "Dig This" in which the grand prize is a trip to Alberta, Canada, and Bozeman, Mont., for an authentic dinosaur dig with "Lost World" consultants and paleontologists Jack Horner and Phil Currie, who will judge the contest.

WEB SITES LINKED TO FILM

Both Mercedes' (www.mercedes-benz.com) and Timberland's Web sites will be hyperlinked to Universal's "Lost World" site. In a deal with Microsoft Corp., Timberland launches a Virtual Voyage site (www.mungopark.com) tracking the progress of the dinosaur dig, which starts in mid-August. It also will be hyperlinked to the Universal site.

"These provide a strategic bridge to the fall selling season for Timberland and Mercedes-Benz," said John Kocis, a Ryan VP.

Ryan developed point of purchase, reflected in Timberland print ads promoting the contest. The print ads will be paid for by co-op budgets from Timberland's retail partners.

Separately, New York's Museum of Natural History will open a "Lost World"-branded dinosaur display under license by Universal. The M-Class will be on display there.

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