Tie-in Promotion Includes TV Commercials With Movie Footage

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LOS ANGELES -- In its first movie tie-in deal in 14 years, Budweiser is sponsoring New Line Cinema’s upcoming comedy Wedding Crashers.

The film, which opens July 15 and stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, marks the first time that the Anheuser-Busch brand has promoted a film since 1991’s firefighter drama Backdraft.
A scene from one of Budweiser's commercials that include footage from the movie.

TV spots

For Wedding Crashers, Budweiser will back the film through two 30-second spots, sponsorship of the film’s New York City premiere, retail promotions and giveaways, as well as sponsored screenings in 30 cities.

In the film, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Vaughn play divorce mediators and lifelong friends who invade weddings to pick up women.

Budweiser’s commercials will air nationally beginning July 5 and continue throughout the month. Both were directed by Wedding Crashers helmer David Dobkin and feature original footage mixed with scenes from the film. Chicago’s Fusion Idea Labs penned the scripts, combining moments from the film with the aesthetic of Budweiser’s commercials –- and built around the mythology around the wedding crasher.

'Ladies Beware'

In “Ladies Beware,” a group of women are in training to recognize wedding crashers and deal with their propositions. An older brother prepares his younger brother for the art of wedding crashing in “Get Ready.”

“The ads are true to the style of the film while maintaining the humor and irreverence that consumers have come to expect from a Budweiser commercial,” said Lance Still, senior vice president of national promotions at New Line Cinema.

Budweiser also will offer exclusive Internet content on Budweiser.com. Dubbed “Crash the Trailer,” the site will enable visitors to place themselves into scenes from the movie’s trailer and e-mail it to others. The site will also feature outtakes from the film, the sound track and a pickup-line generator.

Neither company disclosed how much Budweiser will spend on the promotion.

But the deal came together rather quickly, compared to similar promotions.

Product placements

While Budweiser products are placed in the film –- the company handles its own product-placement deals -– New Line didn’t approach executives at the St. Louis-based beer maker until a cut of the film could be screened in March.

“We knew Budweiser had been placed, but it wasn’t until after seeing the film that I realized how in line with their messaging the film was,” Ms. Still said. “It’s rare that you have a fit like that.”

Ms. Still added that New Line had always hoped to attract Budweiser to the project. “We always felt they were the best fit,” she said. “But we couldn’t convince them until we had the movie to show them. They don’t really tie-in unless they can see the finished product.”

Wedding Crashers is a perfect fit with Budweiser,” said Jim Schumacker, vice president, creative development and branded entertainment for Anheuser-Busch. “Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s characters could be taken straight from a Budweiser commercial. The ads, as well as our expanded Internet presence, are going to add to the tremendous buzz this movie is generating.”

Multiple sponsors

Budweiser won’t be the film’s only promo partner. New Line has also attracted Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Guitar Center, Circuit City, Tower Records, LG and Jane magazine to launch sweepstakes, contests, in-store giveaways, and online promotions.

While Wedding Crashers will represent Budweiser’s entertainment efforts on the big screen, the company will also appear on the small screen this summer with integrations in the comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on cable channel FX. The beer giant made a product integration deal as part of its media buy on the News Corp. cable network for the six-episode series, which launches this month. The agreement will embed the company’s products throughout the show, which centers on three friends who own a south Philadelphia taproom.
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