MGM Offers Brands A Piece Of The Rock

Promo op for April 'Walking Tall' remake

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% MGM, the studio that brought us the brand-studded James Bond pic, "Die Another Day", is resurrecting a lesser known '70s movies icon, Buford Pusser, vigilante sheriff.

The studio's remake of "Walking Tall," with The Rock starring as a contemporary version of the lead character, represents a promotional opportunity for several brand marketers on a scale that wouldn't require the tent-pole level of co-marketing commitment that a property like a Bond film might require.

MGM Senior VP-Worldwide Promotions Mary Goss Robino has retained ad agency veteran Alan Blum as a consultant to enlist a slew of brand marketers for a national promotion called America's Tough Fest. Described as "Fear Factor" meets "Gladiators" meets "Jeopardy," the competition sets out to discover the toughest bouncer in America.

"It's an action drama, so the brands we've approached and are talking to are male-skewed, 18-34", said Goss Robino. "But The Rock also has a huge female following as well so we're positioning this as a mass appeal play."

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% Since the film, set for an April release, is already in the can, there are no product-placement opportunities for potential co-marketing partners, but Blum believes the opportunity would still be powerful for brands to leverage. "My hope overall is to create an experience that captures the idea of the picture instead of mirroring the picture so we're creating a more dimensional and immersive way for brands to get involved instead of just placing product and calling it a day."

Blum and Goss Robino are looking to sell the title sponsorship for Tough Fest for $1.5 million as well as offering several secondary sponsor opportunities.

The competition will culminate in Los Angeles, where finalists will compete for the honor of toughest bouncer in America, hosted by The Rock. Blum and Goss Robnio are currently talking to World Wrestling Entertainment about being the broadcast partner for a TV special about the event. Blum is looking for the WWE to cover production costs. WWE programming appears on Viacom properties, Spike TV and UPN.

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