‘Space Jam’ is summer’s hottest movie marketing event

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Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is undoubtedly the cinematic marketing event of the summer.

The long-awaited sequel, released in both theaters and on HBO Max on July 16, comes out in a summer of blockbusters in theaters and streaming services as pandemic restrictions are lifted. It competes with Marvel’s “Black Widow,” Paramount’s “Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins,” and Warner Bros. own remake of “The Suicide Squad”. But nothing really hits the mark, as the reimagined, family-friendly 90s kids loved renting from their local Blockbusters.

The famous Looney Tunes/real world mashup has been remade for a tech-savvy generation. Like Michael Jordan before him, NBA champion LeBron James is sucked into an alternate universe where he finds himself determined to win a high-stakes basketball game against cartoon characters. This time, however, James and his Looney Tunes friends fight to save James’ son in the digitized world of the Serververse where the villain Al-G Rhythm’s (Don Cheadle) algorithm threatens their very existence.

Next week, the film will premiere with over 200 brand collaborations behind it, spanning apparel, footwear, food and beverage, retail, and even pet products. Brands like Nike, Spalding, Moose Toys, Gap, Crocs, Fossil, Funko, GameStop, BarkBox and more are on board. Fans of the film can find almost anything they desire, from Space Jam Kraft Mac & Cheese onesies to Trolli Sour Sneaks candies. Consumer products are also being built with marketing partnerships with brands like McDonald’s, Xbox and Amazon, several announced this week, aimed at appealing to millennials who grew up watching the first movie as well as a new generation of kids.

“This is a rare property that means a lot to different people in different ways,” said Bryan Warman, senior vice president of global digital marketing at Warner Bros. “Even within the same partnership, there are multiple layers that are just as appealing to a kid in ’96 to kids today.

“It’s such a cultural event. You marry the star power of LeBron James to Looney Tunes,” says Louise Soper, senior vice president of global brand partnerships at Warner Bros. “There was a very strong nostalgic reaction from the brands. McDonald’s loved the idea of ​​coming back and partnering up again. We’re family-focused, but also the cool factor with digital extensions . »

Brands have had plenty of time to prepare for the animated live-action film. Rumors of a sequel to “Space Jam” began circulating in 2016, and the official release date was set for 2019. The movie itself might as well be a giant ad for Warner Bros. numerous references to other Warner Bros. .’ intellectual property. The trailer alone shows James traversing multiple worlds that are part of Warner Bros. universes, including “Game of Thrones”, “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Matrix” (see the trailer).

“Space Jam” was always intended to be a high-profile marketing event. The original 1996 “Space Jam” film itself was crafted from an advertisement, the 1992 Nike Super Bowl commercial “Hare Jordan”, in which Michael Jordan plays basketball against Bugs Bunny. The creative force behind the ad, Jim Riswold, was also known for Nike’s popular “Bo Knows” and “I Am Tiger Woods” campaigns. Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk was the one who approached Warner Bros. with the idea for the movie based on the ad, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Here are some of the major notable marketing collaborations and partnerships to come out of the film. Some are artfully tied to the original film’s retro roots, while others are simply responding to consumer demand and anticipation for the film.

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