Friday, June 14, 2013

Superman Man of Steel: Powerful Partnering with Wal-Mart

With Superman, Man of Steel we not only get a retelling of a classic comic book character, we get a powerful marketing campaign between the mighty DC Comics and the mightiest of box stores, Wal-Mart. What has transpired could be a new way for production companies to make money and partner with and create long going advertisement campaigns not just for their movie but the companies who partner with them. Who better to kick off this model than the partnering of Superman, arguably, the mightiest of all superheroes and Wal-Mart, the mightiest of all retail outlets? 

Wal-Mart purchased the rights to promote Superman Man of Steel, including hosting early premiere showings the night before the movies openings. Individuals purchased their tickets at the megastore prior to the showing on June 13. While tickets were reduced in price, there was also a small packet of materials including web site extras only available to those purchasing the tickets along with the souvenir ticket that came with it. The near capacity to sell out showings of the film along with a 15 minute special feature available only to those going on the opening Wal-Mart night were among the highlights. While there were some fans that were critical of the effort of Wal-Mart, they were, never the less still there, many dressed in their Superman garb. I found the criticism somewhat hypocritical, if not wanting to support Wal-Mart; they could have simply waited a few hours to see the film without the features that went with the Wal-Mart Promotion.

We have likely entered a new era of film promotions, if it produces the special features, (which this reviewer likes) I see a stroke of genius there. This also comes at a time when many theaters are lobbying to reduce the time of trailers shown in their theaters. I have never heard a consumer complain about too many trailers but anything to reduce time prior to a movie in order to sell more tickets, to more showings should be expected. Movie production companies are at a place where they have to look at alternative ways to promote their films to make more money. While this could be a solution to that problem, I see it as another problem in other ways. There are only a few companies that can provide the resources to make this happen. Many of them will be controversial to some of the consumers who want to support certain films. 

Unfortunately, in the scheme of things that are likely to come, consumers, including many Christians may be called to a place where they are tempted to compromise their faith and integrity. What if a company promoting a movie we want to see that has as a focus the power of the family also promotes products that causes damage to the family? What if that company is promoting principles and/or products that go against our belief system? That is likely the case even in this example with Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has not been recognized as the friendliest company to small private business owners, there is a great deal of speculation and debate about the Wal-Mart effort take advantage of labor with reductions in benefits and hours. While one may or may not agree with this, there are many who do, for those individuals, they are once again tempted to give up their core beliefs about supporting an organization like Wal-Mart and now a more in your face approach that includes major sponsorship of a movie many have longed to see, especially children.

While there are no easy answers to this issue, it is clear, the efforts of major cooperation’s impacting our everyday life, outside of typical promotions of their products exists. Many will give in and see no problem with compromise doing this, some will see something positive, I will withhold judgment as it is too early to tell what the long lasting results of campaigns like this will be. Who knows, while we have had product placement in the past, we now have Superman, or at least the actor portraying him speaking the high praises of Wal-Mart. I have to wonder though, living in the great state of Kansas, the home of Clark Kent, would that same actor and all of those individuals promoting Wal-Mart in the special feature before the film, also speak out for and support those small local businesses who have been hurt by major companies like Wal-Mart.  I would hope that if growing up in a small Kansas town would have taught Clark Kent anything, it is the need to stand up not just for the big guy but also, the little guy who has been there all along from one generation to the next.  

To see part of the Wal-Mart Special Features Film click on the video, if the video doesn't appear, click on the following link:

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