The 2002 film Spider-Man is not known as a revolutionary point in product placement history. But that film accomplished the (now common) feat of digitally replacing the film’s Dr. Pepper soda logos with Miranda soda logos for the international market.
Digitally changing brand logos is now a common practice in product placement. So now, 15 years later, the Spider-Man franchise is getting another reboot. Will its product placements and brand tie-ins similarly break the mold?
One major change in Spider-Man: Homecoming is a move away from Sony ubiquity. In the first post-2002 reboot of the franchise, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man and 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony was everywhere. There were Sony laptops, Sony digital cameras, and a major campaign built around the web-slinger for Sony’s Xperia smart phone. Sony Pictures, it comes as no surprise, owns the film rights to Spider-Man.
This time around, just as Peter Parker is teaming up with Tony “Iron Man” Stark, so is Sony teaming up with Dell. The “Partners” section of the official Spider-Man: Homecoming website announces that “Dell is teaming up with Sony, a long time Dell customer and partner, both in front of and behind the camera on this summer’s highly anticipated film, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The partnership swung into action in late May with the “Superpower meets Super Powered” theme to launch the hottest new film and Dell’s new Inspiron 15 Gaming laptop.”
Watch the video on Twitter here.
Dell also sponsored the movie’s premiere, while star Tom Holland appears in the brand’s tie-in commercial.
Dell also collaborated with Sony Pictures Virtual Reality on Spider-Man: Homecoming VR, a new multi-platform promotional VR experience based on the upcoming film, which was created on industry-leading Dell Precision workstations. Produced by Sony Pictures Virtual Reality and developed by CreateVR, Spider-Man: Homecoming VR offers players the chance to suit up as Spider-Man, hone their web-shooting skills and sling high above New York City in pursuit of the Vulture. The VR experience will be available for free across all major VR platforms from June 30 through to the July 7 theatrical release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Fans can get a sneak preview of the VR experience at select Cinemark theaters in the U.S., where Dell’s PC line of VR-ready products for consumers – a top choice for VR fanatics and VR newbies alike – will be used in demonstrations.
Timed with opening weekend of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dell and Sony Pictures will also invite fans to step into Spidey’s shoes. Passersby will be able to race to the top of a New York City skyscraper using their mobile phones in Times Square by participating in an immersive, interactive Spider-Man Scramble experience on some of the largest digital billboards in New York City.
Watch the video on Twitter here.
The video game will be live on Clear Channel Outdoor’s digital billboard on Broadway between 46th and 47th Street from June 30-July 1 and July 7-8 (from 2 – 10 p.m. ET) in Times Square allowing fans the opportunity to swing by Duffy Square and show off their Spidey skills.
Against a backdrop of the real-life buildings in Times Square, players will control Spider-Man via their mobile phones as he races up two massive digital screens in front of the Times Square audience. The Spider-Man Scramble game was created on by Dell Precision mobile workstations, which will project and operate the Times Square billboards.
Gone are the days of simply plopping some tech or a soda can in a scene and calling it a product placement day. Today’s film-brand partnerships are multi-dimensional, and are deeply interwoven with a film, extending well offscreen. For example, six months before the film’s premiere, Spider-Man: Homecoming, star Tom Holland appeared on behalf of Dell at its CES 2017 presence.
In the 2004 film Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker works as a pizza delivery boy for local New York City pizzeria Joe’s. Marvel’s Iron Fist Netflix series also apparently has a cute homage to Joe’s Pizza. No locals this time around though. For Homecoming, Spider-Man has teamed up with Pizza Hut, the official pizza of the film, which says it is “Delivering the hero you crave: Cheesy Bites Pizza, with 28 poppable cheese-filled bites baked right into the crust.” While Joe’s restricted the movie’s pizza reach to Greenwich Village, Pizza Hut lets the film reach as far as Indonesia with branded packaging and deals.
Quite apropos, vloggers at ToyScouter made a Spider-themed Pizza Hut spoof a few months ago that has been viewed a whopping 6.8 million times.
As with Dell, Tom Holland is again turning up to do offscreen promotion for Spider-Man: Homecoming’s car partner Audi. An Audi ad features the star as a student driver. Several Audi models also appear in the film.
Digitally changing one soda label to another was a Spider-Man feat 15 year ago. Digitally duplicating new Spider-Man star Tom Holland for a Mexican cinema chain Cinepolis commercial is the modern version.
And here—along with the appearances in the NBA Finals spots, Audi and Dell spots—demonstrates how far Spider-Man product placement has come in 15 years. Franchise stars are now expected to not only hold the product in the film but also be an involved and prominent offscreen partner.
Spider-Man: Homecoming has other notable brand partners. Built around the “Be a Community Hero. Shop Goodwill,” the re-seller and jobs providing retailer is partnering with the film to promote #HeroStyle and “help to create job training and placement opportunities for your neighbors and protect the environment.”
Haute accessory brand Charlotte Olympia is offering high-end Spider-Man-themed products in a capsule collection launching July 5th:
Also boasting an outpost in Times Square, Dave and Busters, is hosting Spider-Man games:
While not an official partner, Starbucks got some exposure by appearing in a Sony Pictures promo, when real customers were shocked to have Spidey drop by in this NYC stunt (watch for the cameo by Stan Lee):