As part of the deal, the self-service shoe stores will be decked out with movie posters and information on movie-ticket giveaways for the film that opened last week. It's DSW's first fling with an entertainment-marketing partner and the latest example of how Hollywood studios are pursuing uncluttered retail venues in which to promote their productions.
Studios such as Universal have recently sought out deals with auto parts retailers; 20th Century Fox has aligned with mall-property managers; and Disney has linked with wireless stores for high-impact marketing. Miramax has explored nontraditional venues for its upcoming TV series "Project Runway" with high-end furniture company Drexel Heritage, which is hyping the Bravo show in hundreds of outlets.
For "Shall We Dance?," a film about a middle-aged lawyer who finds life-changing passion in ballroom-dancing lessons, the studio searched for female-centric and special-interest venues, including shoe stores and dance studios. "The partnerships are very closely linked with the theme of the movie," said Nicole Sedita, Miramax senior director-worldwide promotions, "and they get us into places where we wouldn't normally be."
Columbus, Ohio-based DSW operates 162 stores in 28 states and also supplies footwear products to other chains, including Filene's Basement, Value City Department Stores and Stein Mart.
For its part of the "Shall We Dance?" arrangement, DSW is running a "Get Your Dancing Shoes" promo that gives away a movie ticket with a $50 purchase (the ticket, through the Properties Group's Movie Cash, can be used for any movie). The chain has blanketed its e-mail database and its frequent-buyer list with information on the movie and the ticket giveaway. Its radio ads have "Shall We Dance?" taglines.
Another partner is Arthur Murray Dance Studios, whose 250 locations are decked out with movie posters and are playing the "Shall We Dance?" soundtrack during lessons. The chain supplied professional dancers for the movie's New York premiere and hosted pre-release screenings. Ads include spot TV and in-theater. A sponsored sweepstakes sends winners to attend a professional dance competition in Las Vegas.
The deal underscores that movie marketers, which previously focused national media spending on TV, realize the value of the audience segments they can reach through other means, such as the Web, guerrilla marketing and retail space.
"The gold ring used to be television ads," said Diane Salerno, a partner in Six Degrees Global, a Los Angeles marketing consultant. "But it's an attention-deficit economy, and studio marketers understand the power of communicating messages in a variety of cultural environments."
"It's a really nice movie that hits right at the heart of our demo," said Sherwin Leff, director-client services for Foote Cone & Belding's Marketing Drive, Chicago, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., which works with DSW. "We liked everything about this deal."
For more on this story as well as interviews with Julie Shumaker of Electronic Arts and Dustin Cohn of Gatorade, see AdAge.com/madisonandvine