Strictly Business Podcast: Marvel’s Marketing Guru on Partnership Power

Mindy Hamilton
Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

“Avengers: Infinity War” and American Airlines.
“Black Panther” and Lexus.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” and Doritos.

At first blush, some of Marvel Entertainment’s most successful blockbusters and Madison Avenue’s well-known brands might not seem to have much in common. But in the latest episode of the new Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” Mindy Hamilton, senior VP of global partnerships and marketing at Marvel, reveals the delicate art of how she pairs consumer products and her studio’s productions to achieve maximum promotional power.

The partnerships Hamilton engineers with blue-chip brands are an increasingly important part of marketing mix that allows content companies like Marvel to reach additional audiences that exceed the grasp of traditional staples like billboards and 30-second spots.

But it’s not as simple as just jamming as many product plugs as you can into a two-hour movie, Hamilton told Variety co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein.

“Brands are getting savvy about this space,” she said. “What they want to avoid is what we at Marvel call the logo parade.”

Brand integrations are but a small part of how these partnerships work; more deals don’t have placements in the programming itself than do. “The single biggest mistake that a brand unfortunately will make is thinking they have to be in the film. I get the attraction. When it’s right, its amazing. When it’s not, brands can be disappointed,” she said.

Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous Strictly Business” episodes featuring comedian/actor/producer Kevin Hart and ICM agent Esther Newberg. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.