Superman the Sellout? Man of Steel Has Over 100 Promotional Partners

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Movie fans are surely excited by the soon-to-be-released Superman reboot, Man of Steel. But the film might be even more eagerly anticipated by its 100-plus corporate promotional partners, which are using the movie to help sell razors, cell phones, fast-food burgers, Twizzlers, a career in the armed forces and more.

Until now, the animated 2012 film The Lorax, which had a strong environmental, antimaterialist message, was probably the movie best known for over-the-top promotional tie-ins. It wasn’t just the sheer number of promotional partners — more than 70 — but that some of the products tied to the movie seemed inappropriate, like an SUV.

This summer, Ad Age reported, Man of Steel blows The Lorax away with more than 100 global partners adding up to around $160 million. (The movie was made by Warner Bros., which is owned by Time Warner, the corporate parent of TIME.)

Among the companies hoping to ride Superman’s cape, the hip eyeglass seller Warby Parker unveiled a Man of Steel collection, inspired by Clark Kent’s famous spectacles. Walmart is selling tickets for advance screenings (one day in advance) in its stores. Nokia’s new phone, the Lumia 925, is featured in the film for a brief moment. Several scenes in the movie take place at Sears in another brand-partnership moment. The latest oversize burger from Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. is the Super Bacon Cheeseburger, featuring “six full bacon strips woven together into a crispy bacon nest” in yet another tie-in to the new Superman movie. (Come on, is this something Superman would even consider eating?) Chrysler, Hershey, Army National Guard and Gillette are among the many other Man of Steel partners.

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Could the film be overdoing things, with so many promotions that consumers tune out or are turned off? According to one expert quoted by Ad Age:

The studio and marketers ‘can achieve success when the marketing tie-ins are separate and distinct both in message and in target audience,’ said Tom Meyer, president of the entertainment division of Marketing Arm. ‘Likewise, when there is category overlap and the campaigns are targeted at similar audiences, you can cause consumer confusion, which is worse for the marketer than the studio.’

At least one Man of Steel tie-in may not have been thought out that well. Gillette launched the HowDoesHeShave.com campaign, in which Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” director (and huge comic-book fan) Kevin Smith, Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory and others offer competing theories as to how Superman shaves. (He has a beard at some point in the new movie, and it disappears without explanation.) But as Businessweek and TheWrap noted, tons of comic-book fans have pointed out that the question was answered definitively years ago. TheWrap summed up:

The fans fairly swiftly provided one that has been represented in the comic books a number of times. Superman emits heat rays from his eyes, bounces them off a mirror and zaps away his whiskers. Duh, guys.

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In fairness, Smith mentions this theory in his video, but then states that he doesn’t buy it. Going along with the theory would end the discussion — and the ad campaign — pretty quickly.

In addition to the heat-ray theory, fans have noted that in older Superman comics, it was revealed that the Man of Steel’s hair doesn’t grow on earth, under our yellow sun, so he has no need to shave. Accepting that theory would mean that the Man of Steel filmmakers made a big error by showing Superman with a beard. It also wouldn’t do much to help sell razors.

14 comments
KateHudak
KateHudak

how many superman movies are there?

ForeverAeon
ForeverAeon

ironic that in the top left corner of this very page are no less than 5 other corporate logos

Shouvo_365
Shouvo_365

This must be the greatest superman movie of all times....i can't wait to watch it !i wish i was the Louis Lane in the movie..

aI
aI like.author.displayName 1 Like

i have NO Problem with The 100 Promotional Partners in The Movie, MAN OF STEEL will make Over $1 BiLLiON Dollars Worldwide, Henry Cavill is a Good Actor & Amy Adams is Very Beautiful & a (4 Time-Oscar-Nominee) Plus C-NOLAN is The Writer & Producer, i think The New Suit Looks Great & much better than The Old Light Blue Suit that looked like a SMURF & with The OutSide UnderWear was NOT Good, i Will See MAN OF STEEL in 3D.

MatWideAwake90
MatWideAwake90 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Lol people find in inconsistency? what about in Superman 2 with Superman kissing Lois Lane to forger everything. Dont remember that power in the comics.. I enjoy all the marketing schemes just means more Superman gear to choose from. Plus if the studio is willing to spend the money on all the ads they must really like the film to do so.

NicholasCobraetti
NicholasCobraetti

Check again. The super-kiss was rare but came straight from the comics.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

I'll wait for the DVD.  I've seen too many Superman reboots...

Ya_Boii_DeemZ
Ya_Boii_DeemZ like.author.displayName 1 Like

@DeweySayenoffwhat superman reboots? this is the only one. superman returns wasnt a reboot it was a spiritual sequel to superman 2.

BudBumich
BudBumich like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Ya_Boii_DeemZ @DeweySayenoff 

Right, only one reboot. Something tells me you don't know what your talking about there Dewey

JosephHandibode
JosephHandibode

@BudBumich @Ya_Boii_DeemZ @DeweySayenoff 

Seems don't know what your talking about Marvel fan.  Because anyone who seen Superman movies knows Superman Returns was not reboot but sequel to original superman movies: from Christopher Reeve talking (instead of acting to be Superman he acted out to be Christopher Reeve).  And it continued everything from original movies.  So if your don't have a clue be silent.

themrbrucewayne
themrbrucewayne

Everyone needs to understand that this is a new perspective of Superman.  Yes the fundamentals are still there, but just because something is inconsistant with something form the comments does not mean it was an error.