‘Angels’ flies with Cingular, Maserati

Promo trio expected to spend over $15 mil to push pic

Ferrari-owned Maserati, Cingular Wireless and Sony Ericsson have come on board to back Columbia Pictures’ upcoming sequel “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” with a multiplatform marketing campaign.

In an unusual move, the companies are revving up to roll out a joint promotional effort, with the brands tag-teaming to showcase their sports cars, wireless services and cell phones used in the film. Trio is expected to spend north of $15 million to push pic.

Film marks the first time Maserati has helped push a Hollywood production, ponying up $9 million in support.

Cingular’s involvement with the pic is its second major deal with Col, after it experienced a successful tie-in with the studio’s superhero hit “Spider-Man.”

Refreshing image

Maserati, which has its new Maserati Spyder sports coupe and two Ferraris in the pic — a $670,000 Ferarri Enzo was flown in from Italy for a day — is trying to boost its image in the U.S. Its new Maserati models are the first to be sold in the country in more than a decade.

Popular on Variety

After considering several pics, Maserati chose to tie its brand with “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” because of the pic’s aspirational attitude and the young, hip female audience it is expected to attract.

Cingular Wireless will use the pic to promote its new photo-messaging service and ring tone, used by the film’s characters on Sony Ericsson’s new 616 phone in several sequences.

“After the success of our positioning in ‘Spider-Man’ last year we looked at a range of movie options and chose ‘Charlie’s Angels’ because it allowed us the opportunity to showcase the the phone and its applications,” said Chris Penrose, executive director of promotions for Cingular of its biggest tie-in to date with a Hollywood production. “We wanted to get as deep as possible into the film.”

Cingular and Sony Ericsson will offer fans the chance to purchase “Charlie’s Angels”-themed accessory bundles. They’ll also launch a “Charlie’s Angels: Road Cyclone” wireless game that can be downloaded for $3.99. Ringtones from the “Full Throttle” soundtrack, featuring Pink and Destiny’s Child, will be made available for 99¢.

Cingular likely will split revenues it collects for the game with Sony.

Sharing efforts

Combined campaigns between the companies will involve a 14-city tour, displays at sports arenas, in-theater promos, TV spots and print ads, retail support, sweepstakes and direct mail, as well as an Internet effort, featuring the film’s crime-fighting trio played by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.

Maserati has already launched its Web campaign and will appear in a specially shot extra on the DVD release highliting the vehicles in “Full Throttle.”

Maserati plans to continue to use partnerships and promotions with films to reach the mass market and position its pricey sports cars as an aspirational moniker. Its cars recently have appeared on TV in Fox’s “Fastlane,” UPN’s “Platinum” and soon HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

Company is already in talks with other big-budget productions, including Col’s “RPM” and “Hot Wheels” to introduce its new sedan, among other models.

Maserati said it teamed up with Cingular and Sony Ericsson in an effort to reach a broader audience, estimated to be roughly 30 million consumers, once the campaign completes its run.

“We’re brand-new to the market,” says Marco Mattiacci, veep of marketing for Maserati of North America. “Our ties to the Hollywood community are fundamental for us and the fastest way to build awareness for our product. Product placement is a key piece of our marketing strategy.”

“Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” also will be backed by campaigns from Best Buy, Billabong and Ray Ban.