russell schwartz, President-domestic marketing & rolf mittweg, President-chief operating officer, worldwide distribution & marketing

With a breakthrough Anheuser-Busch deal, New Line ad team snags lads but also hints of chick flick

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Selling an r-rated comedy to both young men and women over 25 is the marketing equivalent of scoring a hole-in-one with a basketball. But that's essentially what New Line Cinema's Russell Schwartz and Rolf Mittweg did with a far-reaching, integrated campaign for "Wedding Crashers," grossing $210 million domestically since its July 2005 release.

Featuring two players (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) who crash strangers' weddings to pick up women, "Crashers" hardly has the plot points of a chick flick. But with plenty of romance (and a dreamboat comedic duo), New Line had itself a four-quadrant movie, drawing women despite the laddish concept.

"That was one of the big eye openers on this movie," says Mr. Schwartz, president-domestic marketing, whose impressive resume includes marketing the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in partnership with Mr. Mittweg. During initial screenings, "women came out as effusive, if not more so, than men," says Mr. Schwartz.

The challenge was to underscore all that "Crashers" had to offer women without losing its core audience of men aged 17-25. Led by Messrs. Schwartz and Mittweg, president and chief operation officer-worldwide distribution and marketing, New Line's marketing team snagged men's attention through PR, Internet, and print and broadcast efforts that capitalized on the comedic concept of crashing an event. For instance, Messrs. Vaughn and Wilson interrupted each other's appearances on an episodes of the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

For the ladies, New Line's campaign emphasized the movie's romance. Teaser ads in bridal supplements in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times generated buzz with the copy: "Hide your bridesmaids." Carat in Los Angeles handled New Line's media buying.

"Crashers" piqued the interest of Anheuser-Busch Cos.' Budweiser enough to inspire the King of Beers to ink its first major movie promotion deal in 14 years. In addition to retail and other promotions, Budweiser tapped Chicago's Fusion Idea Lab to create two national TV spots, targeting men and women. Budweiser also co-hosted a hilarious online feature, "Crash This Trailer," which allowed people to insert a photo of themselves into the movie's trailer. The photo was then superimposed over one of the character's faces and animated to give the impression the user is starring in the movie trailer.

While studios typically brace themselves for summer releases to suffer 40%-50% drops each weekend, this highest-grossing comedy of 2005 maintained a place in the box office's top 10 for 10 consecutive weeks.

Selected for: 'Wedding Crashers'

* The rarest of hits marketed to both young men and women.

* Reached out to both men and women via bridal magazines, TV, PR and Internet promotion.

* Got Bud.
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