NEW YORK — The makers of Captain America: The First Avenger are in a must-win preemptive battle against superhero fatigue. Their not-so-secret weapon? A patriotic-themed marketing campaign complete with fireworks and red, white and blue doughnuts.
The fear is "there are so many superhero movies this summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for Hollywood.com. "But so far no one's gotten lost in the shuffle. They all opened at No. 1."
The makers of Captain America would not say how much they spent to promote the movie. But analysts estimate they spent $30 million to $50 million to create buzz around the movie and its main character.
That included teaming with other companies to get the word out. Marvel had tie-ins including packaging and contests with Dr Pepper Snapple Group and 7-Eleven, a deal with Wrigley, and a partnership with Dunkin' Brands.
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In addition to a Cherry Coolatta, Dunkin' is offering a Captain America jelly doughnut with vanilla icing and red, white and blue sprinkles; a Stars & Stripes doughnut with red icing and star-shaped sprinkles; and a First Avenger "Tri-Cup" that lets drinkers have three Coolatta flavors in one cup with Captain America's image on it.
Symantec's Norton is focusing on the emblematic red, white and blue shield that Captain America uses. It worked with Marvel to create a three-minute feature with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie and the importance of the shield.
"When we look at these partnerships we look for a property that has attributes similar to the position that Norton takes," said Sally Jenkins, vice president of marketing for Symantec. Captain America and Norton share "the fact that we're fighting the bad guys," she said.
The combination of promotions and tie-ins for Captain America is key to a successful movie marketing campaign, said Al Lieberman, marketing professor at New York University's Stern School of Business.
"For every person who may see a trailer once or twice, they'll also see the TV commercials from the tie-in companies that will remind them this is a hot property and to come out and see it," he said.