Boldly branding

Par forges a galaxy of 'Star Trek' tie-ins

There's a new Captain Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Uhura for next month's release of Paramount's re-imagining of "Star Trek," but there will be some familiar faces in the form of iconic brands and their spokespeople hyping the launch.

Kellogg's Tony the Tiger, Burger King's ubiquitous King mascot and Esurance's animated Erin will appear in custom-created "Trek"-themed advertising as part of an estimated $50 million worth of partner promotions for J.J. Abrams' version of the classic property.

For one, Tony the Tiger gets into the spirit by flashing the "live long and prosper" hand sign on a national print ad. (There will be "beam up badges" tucked into such cereals as Apple Jacks and Froot Loops, and there's a limited edition "Trek" cereal with Starfleet insignia-shaped marshmallows.)

Verizon Wireless and Burger King shot their commercials using sets and crew members from the film, the first big-screen "Trek" voyage in seven years. Nokia, meanwhile, plans a global campaign with significant U.S. reach via carrier partner Verizon to boost its newly launched 7205 Intrigue multimedia mobile phone.

The tie-in deals intend to hit moms and gatekeepers in grocery stores, young adults and kids with two separate Burger King promotions and Trekkies and other tech-savvy fans with Intel's Lenovo computers and BoldlyGo Web site. Online presence from Verizon and others is also a big component.

"We wanted to make sure these were promotions with tonnage to relaunch the 'Trek' franchise," said LeeAnne Stables, Paramount executive vp worldwide marketing partnerships. "We like to have fewer partners with bigger programs."

Verizon plans a heavy TV, print, outdoor and in-cinema ad campaign, co-branded with Nokia, along with original "Trek" content available on V Cast to its mobile customers. There's a microsite with trivia and games, text-to-win programs and "Trek" exposure at high-profile Nokia Theatres.

"We like to create these rich programs with lots of consumer interaction," said Grace Belmonte, director of channel marketing at Nokia, U.S. "It's a branding effort for us and an awareness builder for V Cast."

Alert fans will see the Nokia logo in the movie itself, though there's no product placement — it's the 23rd century, after all.

Kellogg's is planning in-store displays and more than 100 million "Trek"-themed packages of top-selling products like Pop-Tarts, Eggo frozen waffles, Cheez-It snacks and Keebler cookies. Those will carry sweepstakes, swag giveaways, movie tickets and other consumer offers.

Burger King has adult and kid programs as well as in-store and online activity supporting the movie's May 8 release. Esurance touts a contest to go to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and to the film's Hollywood premiere. There will be an Esurance-sponsored "Star Trek" movie night at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park and at other sporting events.

T.L. Stanley is a contributor to Brandweek.