Subway, Marriot pushing Universal film

Nostalgia has helped lure marketers to Universal Pictures’ “Land of the Lost.”

The studio has lined up sandwich-chain Subway, hotelier Marriott, Land O’Frost lunchmeats and Pop Rocks to promote its bigscreen adaptation of Sid and Marty Krofft’s campy Saturday morning TV show.

The companies are expected to pony up an estimated $30 million in media support through separate campaigns that will tap into elements from the movie, which stars Will Ferrell, and the series.

For example, the properties’ lizard-like aliens, known as Sleestaks, will be featured in a TV spot produced by Subway, with the creatures requesting the chain’s new limited edition Tuscan Chicken Melt sandwich, set to be introduced around pic’s release date of June 5.

First spot bows on an edition of “Saturday Night Live” that Ferrell will host.

Subway will also make over one of its Santa Monica stores, complete with jungle setting, dinosaurs and Sleestaks, similar to how 7-Eleven revamped its stores to mimic a Quik-E-Mart for Fox’s “The Simpsons Movie.”

“Land of the Lost” is “such a retro, nostalgic property, and we wanted brands that could play off the current take on the film and how cool the original TV series was,” said Stephanie Sperber, exec VP of Universal Studios Partnerships, which brokered the deals.

Subway, which is briefly featured in the movie, will also promote the pic at its 21,000 locations with signage and merchandise, as well as through exposure on its website.

The company sparked to the idea of promoting the movie when it was given the chance to unveil the comedy’s first full-length trailer on its website the week after the Super Bowl in February.

Studio has never allowed a promo partner to push one of its pics that far in advance.

“For us, the movie was even more valuable in February than around its launch because it gave us exclusivity,” said Tony Pace, chief marketing officer for Subway, which buys extensive media time across NBC Universal’s TV channels and had been looking to partner on something beyond a traditional 30-second spot. “It gave us something that was highly desirable to moviegoers. There’s always a debate of whether a promotion is helping sell your product or the movie more, and this is a balance of both.”

Overall campaign that Subway is launching around “Land of the Lost,” which bows next week and runs through July 5, is the largest U has put together with a partner.

Studio execs chose to pair with Subway, they said, because of the humorous ads it’s released in the past. Company also spends most of its ad dollars on TV, which appealed to Universal, considering it’s looking to make the biggest splash with its marketing messaging.

The various locations in which partners are promoting the pic – from restaurants and hotels to supermarkets and websites – “takes us places where we can’t buy our way into, and we love that,” Sperber said.

Marriott and its JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts properties will promote the film from the end of May through September at its 300 hotels, through print ads and an online effort that involves travel websites and major portals like Google, Yahoo and MSN, along with its own site.

Studio also couldn’t pass up the chance to pair up with Land O’Frost given the lunchmeat brand’s name.

Deal with the company, which launched earlier this month and runs through July 15, includes themed packaging in supermarkets, print ads and online support.

Candymaker Pop Rocks will push the pic on its packaging, print ads, in-store displays at retailers and online.

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