LOS ANGELES -- Riding the CGI wave, Sony Pictures Animation is gearing up about a dozen partners in its promotional pipeline for its sophomore effort, Surf’s Up
McDonald's, Old Navy, ConAgra Foods, Baskin-Robbins, Sea World and others are on board for an effort that will see more than $100 million in media spending to hype the film, which opens June 8 and follows the studio's maiden CGI, Open Season
In its first deal with Sony after the end of its exclusive 10-year promotional partnership with Disney, McD's will give Surf’s Up
a heads-up with TV advertising, in-store signage and, of course, Happy Meal premiums. As the global QSR partner, Surf’s Up
will be promoted at 32,000 McDonald's locations in 119 countries.
Many partners will play off surf lingo in their executions. Baskin-Robbins will invite consumers to "Catch the Wave to Big Prizes" in two TV spots for a sweepstakes (prizes TBD) and a Surf’s Up
Splish Splash sherbet that resembles a blue and white wave. A B-R mobile tour also will screen the movie's scenes.
Aside from the obvious tie to family brands (McDonald's) and penguin pros (Sea World, which is branding its San Diego park's penguin exhibit with the film this summer), Sony sought hot and/or cold-positioned partners to play into Surf’s Up
's range of weather locations: The film begins in arctic Shiverpool and washes up at the Polynesian Pen Gu Island. For instance, first-timer Kold To Go Bags will tap the Shiverpool imagery and characters on its insulated thermal bags used for transporting such grocery items as ice cream. "We're able to use the water and temperature and environment thematically in our partnerships," said Mary Goss Robino, svp-global marketing partnerships for Sony's Columbia TriStar Marketing. "Some partners played off the surf thematic, but we saw [additional] opportunities."
Many partnerships are new for Sony, and align with the studio's strategy of serving up nonplundered product categories, such as Wonder Bread for last summer's Talladega Nights
"When this film came up, we thought this was adequately quirky for us—Old Navy is sort of a quirky brand in terms of personality," said Kristin Petersen, vp-brand exposure and promotions at Gap Inc. Old Navy will promote its Surf’s Up
relationship in shops, online and circulars, and also is a licensee (T-shirts and flip-flops for boys, girls and toddlers). Promotionally, it's the kitschy value chain's first partnership with a major studio flick. Surf’s Up
, which chronicles how penguins invented the sport of surfing, has a mockumentary narrative in ode to such surfing docs as Riding Giants
and Step Into Liquid
, and diverse animation styles, such as faux grainy, B&W newsreel footage of seminal surfers "hanging six." Shia LaBeouf voices up-and-coming surfer Cody Maverick, the central character. Jon Heder, Zooey Deschanel and Jeff Bridges (as burnout beachcomber The Geek, roughly based on The Big Lebowski
's "The Dude") round out the talent.