|Volkswagen will have first choice of which movie projects it wants its cars to appear in.
VW takes the place of Toyota, which ended a similar three-year promotional partnership with NBC Universal last year, and Dodge before that.
Hollywood studio office
VW will open an office on the Universal Studios lot to work with writers and filmmakers on ways to integrate its cars -- such as the Golf, Jetta, Passat and Touareg -- into projects when developing scripts, and have a representative on-set during productions.
The marketing alliance is the first corporate partnership for NBC Universal since General Electric Co.'s NBC division acquired Vivendi Universal in 2003. It was brokered by Universal Studios Partnerships group, a division created last June to pursue corporate partnerships across all of NBC Universal's stable of properties.
As part of the arrangement, VW will get to choose which films from Universal Pictures it wants its cars to appear in, and will co-promote the project worldwide. The automaker will also have a presence at film premieres. Should VW pass on a film opportunity, Universal Pictures has the option to seek out a different car partner. The deal also encompasses promotional opportunities for DVD releases.
Three theme parks
Additionally, VW will be the exclusive partner for Universal's three theme parks in California, Florida and Spain, which will involve in-park signage and car placements, as well as traditional marketing opportunities.
It will also get an opportunity to partner with TV shows that air on the conglomerate's channels -- NBC, Bravo, Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network -- and build marketing campaigns around them, but the deal does not guarantee product placement and is not exclusive when it comes to TV programming.
"This will represent one of the largest and most comprehensive alliances in the entertainment industry and prepares the ground for new ways of reaching consumers on a global scale," said Bernd Pischetsrieder, CEO of Volkswagen.
Product placement in movies
"Product Placement and the movie industry are a growing factor in car promotion and Universal Studios is the most consistently successful movie studio in recent history. With their theme parks and their huge television section with NBC and other attractive TV stations, NBC Universal offers a highly attractive platform to promote our products and brand," Mr. Pischetsrieder said.