Porsche plans 'Cellular' push

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Porsche North America is crafting its first integrated promotion around a Hollywood film with New Line Cinema's action-thriller "Cellular," in which its vehicles have top billing. The move comes as automakers try to rev their entertainment ties beyond typical product placement.

Porsche's 911 Cabriolet Turbo and its Cayenne V6 sports utility vehicle are featured prominently in the film, which stars Kim Basinger as a kidnapping victim whose call for help randomly reaches a young Los Angeles slacker.

To make the most of its star billing, Porsche plans dealership promotions where the trailer will be shown, e-mail blasts and movie-themed content in its 200,000-circulation publications that go to Porsche club members and owners. The brand's agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, also created direct mail dropping soon to some 40,000 Cayenne prospects offering two free tickets in exchange for a test drive, said Karen Henry, manager-dealer and retention marketing at the carmaker. Porsche dealers in Chicago and Atlanta are also sending invitations to roughly 5,000 current owners for a special preview Sept. 9.

Ms. Basinger and other stars will ride in Porsches to the movie's premiere, and a Cayenne will be given away in a consumer sweepstakes that could dovetail with the red-carpet brigade.

"Porsche gives us access to a slightly older, more monied demographic that we wouldn't be marketing directly to," said Lance Still, New Line's senior VP-national promotions. "And we'll get additional media exposure because of their involvement."

pivotal to plot

Both cars are pivotal to the plot, and the movie's director, David Ellis, tweaked the script to include some Cayenne features after he drove the SUV for a week before production began. Mr. Ellis filmed extra content with the Porsche cars for the DVD release of "Cellular," expected later this year, although there's no word yet on whether Porsche will co-promote that release.

Porsche is driving the same road as many competitors. Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar recently linked with Warner Bros.' "Catwoman" for placement and movie-themed ads, and Audi of America built a custom car for Fox's "I, Robot," launching a multimedia ad campaign linked to the futuristic thriller.

For "The Pacifier," an upcoming comedy-action picture starring Vin Diesel, Toyota Motor Sales USA loaned eight Toyota Sienna minivans to director Adam Shankman, a company spokeswoman said. The minivan gets plenty of screen time as Mr. Diesel tries to protect a government scientist's five children, teaching one to drive in the Sienna. Promotion plans for the film aren't set, but a Hollywood insider called the movie "the most exposure for a minivan in 26 years."

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