The Bourne Ultimatum: Google, Gaming, Advertising, and Movies
For a schooling on how the big time entertainment and media companies flex their advertising and marketing e-muscles these days, check out this scenario put together by Universal Pictures (who are behind The Bourne Ultimatum, the third film in the action series starring Matt Damon) and Google.
Google and Universal have announced an online game “inspired by the ‘Bourne’ films” in which players take on the role of a former CIA operative tracking Jason Bourne across the planet, using products from the Google kingdom such as search, images, maps, and even recent purchase YouTube. Google also has arranged to get a nice screenshot of a Google results page during a scene in the film.
There’s also a sweepstakes element, with the grand prize being a tricked out Volkswagon Touareg 2. And wouldn’t you know it, a very same tricked out Touareg 2 appears in the film.
So, The Bourne Ultimatum gets what it hopes will be some viral online marketing-age via the game and sweepstakes, Google gets to promote its wares through the game and gets a bit of on screen time for a major summer blockbuster (though wouldn’t it feel slightly odd if CIA whiz kid Bourne punched up Ask.com or Lycos or even Yahoo to search for info?), and the Touareg 2 gets major promo time through the film and online sweepstakes.
It reminds me a little bit of those complicated three-way trades you tend to get in professional basketball, at least until relatively recently (I haven’t followed sports much in recent years!), so that teams could stay under the salary cap. Essentially this is the big leagues of entertainment and technology and advertising companies putting their heads together to put together a high level promotional play.
I think people are more tolerant of advertising content in entertainment products these days (from what I’ve heard, there’s product placement all over the new Transformers film, for example) while meanwhile advertising content is working mightily to provide advertising content that is entertaining and compelling. The line is blurring, in fact, between what actually is advertising versus “pure” content, with people e-mailing funny commercials posted to YouTube to friends, and television shows that are essentially marketing efforts for products or pay-per-view events.
Whether all of this is “good” or “bad” is hard to say. Overall people today are savvier then ever before about consuming media. Young people more than anyone else, in fact, likely see advertising as simply another form of content and make decisions on where to spend their time (online and off) based on whether or not that content is compelling
The game launches on July 16th. The film premieres on August 3rd.