Disney and Marvel Studios’ 2018 billion-dollar box office hit, Black Panther, immortalized itself in the pop culture zeitgeist forever when it smashed box office records worldwide. The movie was a love letter to the African diaspora, and Wakanda became a stand-in for what an uncolonized Africa could have been. As one of the most successful superhero franchises of all time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has a large and loyal following—and Black Panther’s entry into Marvel’s ever-expanding saga was no exception.
But what are the benefits of cross-promotion between a brand and a film like Black Panther or its recently released sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? How can modern marketers make the most of their investments by aligning themselves with these cultural touchstones?
By taking a closer look at the real-time consumer response to brands’ sponsored TV ads as they aired, we can paint a more detailed picture of the positive effects of when a film’s target audience and the right product offering collide.
In 2018, Lexus released a 15 and 30-second TV ad campaign featuring Black Panther‘s marquee and late star Chadwick Boseman with various supporting cast members in an action sequence ripped straight from a pivotal moment in the film. The campaign yielded an estimated 155k searches during the flight of the campaign, based on more than 334 million impressions and an estimated $5.8 million media investment.
Fast forward to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Taking lessons from their previous Black Panther ad campaign, Lexus once again enlisted popular characters from the film. And they featured them using a prominently displayed Lexus inside an action sequence exclusive to the ad campaign. With an estimated 23% increase in media spend for the highly anticipated sequel, their focus once again revolved around 15 and 30-second ads, but consumer engagement increased dramatically over the previous campaign. The new 15 and 30-second ads generated a more than 200% increase in search after the new campaign ads aired, amongst a 124% increase in impressions.
Because of this, Lexus now knows the value of a co-branded campaign for this franchise, and, for this audience, they have a winning formula for success. However, the luxury car category was not the only industry with a track record of success regarding promotional tie-ins to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Sometimes a successful sponsorship only needs a thematic tie-in to partner with a film. For example, in McDonald’s’ case, their 15 and 30-second spots featured more of an emotional affirmation about representation on screen, earning them more than 238k incremental searches after their ads aired amongst more than half a billion impressions and with an estimated ad spend of $950k.
For MasterCard, their entry into the sponsorship space was more of an opportunity to showcase that MasterCard’s services and reach include places like Egypt because superheroes can be anyone and anywhere. Their 15 and 30-second ads generated roughly 88k searches from 556 million impressions with an estimated spend of about $3 million.
And for Target, their ads focused on aspirational messages like “nothing is impossible” and “forge your own path” aimed at a younger audience with an affinity for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Through the eyes of Riri Williams, a character introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and a character that Marvel fans know well, Target’s ad campaign was able to generate 786k incremental searches based off an estimated media investment of $11.8M for 1.7B impressions, and while elevating an issue close to the brand.
All of these brands and more are big winners in the promotional tie-In category for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and all know that even a little connection to a film can go a long way.
As we head into an economic headwind for 2023 and an inevitable softening of the advertising market, these types of opportunities for businesses to break through the clutter will become increasingly important.
Lexus’s ability to target critical scenes and characters for their ad placements has led to two back-to-back and successful campaigns. For McDonald’s, a more reserved but still practical approach found them connecting with consumers on an emotional level. For MasterCard, they were able to show that its reach is global by placing its product in an unexpected but still relevant context. And for Target, an amazing bridge between an initiative close to their heart through the eyes of a fan-favorite character.
No matter your approach, for brands who can meaningfully connect with a film event like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, you’re sure to see a positive return on your investment.
Now that you know the benefits of promotional tie-ins with blockbuster films like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it’s time to take your marketing strategy to the next level. Contact EDO today to learn how we can help you maximize your exposure and connect with consumers in a powerful way.