Dodge drives product placement

Chrysler markets new muscle

Ryan Reynolds may have found his hero car: a bright orange Dodge Challenger.

The thesp raced around in a 1971 model of the muscle car in Warner Bros.’ “Green Lantern.” And scenes in Universal’s supernatural actioner “R.I.P.D.” will prominently feature Reynolds with a newer SRT8 version when it bows in 2013. Pic is lensing in Boston now under the direction of Robert Schwentke.

Dodge has been looking to rev up its image over the years and is turning to high-profile placements in films as a way to boost the brand, which often revolve around its halo car, the Challenger.

But the two associations so far with Reynolds were purely coincidental, says Walid Saba, head of marketing design/group creative director at the Chrysler Group, which oversees the Dodge brand.

“When it comes to entertainment marketing for all of our vehicles, we take into consideration various factors including storylines, casting and product positioning,” Saba says.

Dodge already had a relationship with Universal, with its Charger appearing in the studio’s “The Dilemma” and every “Fast and Furious” film. A fleet of Chargers were throttled in “Fast Five,” as part of a tie-in in April, which wound up being the series’ biggest earner.

Saba works with Hadler PR to handle such placement deals, which include WB’s next Superman pic, “Man of Steel.”

“We are always looking for new creative initiatives that fit our brand positioning and engage consumers,” Saba says, adding that Dodge positions itself as a “mainstream American brand with mainstream American values” that are sporty, functional and innovative.For “Green Lantern,” Chrysler had brokered a deal for the Jeep Wrangler, which appears in the movie, but the producers had fallen in love with the classic Challenge, and bought it for the production.

Still, Dodge’s licensing arm enables its placement deals to extend to various retail executions, like toys, the company says. WB released a “Green Lantern”-branded line of Hot Wheels cars for the pic featuring the 1971 Challenger.

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