1. News

Mercedes is the true victor in 'Jurassic World'

Jurassic World: Here a Benz, there a Benz ...
Published Jun. 16, 2015

Jurassic Park hit theaters in 1993 and instantly became famous for its dozens of product tie-ins, the camera lingering on logos for Ford Explorers, Jeep Wranglers, Nikon cameras and Jolt Cola. But the blockbuster's new sequel, the $150 million Jurassic World, shows just how much product placement has evolved, both as a consistent moneymaker for film executives and as a cringeworthy fact of life for the theatergoing crowd.

When the dino hunters of Jurassic World race into action, they don't just use any car: They roar into the jungle aboardMercedes-Benz G-Class luxury SUVs. And when the park's doomed vacationers get chomped, moviegoers know exactly what kinds of Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville treats they've left behind.

The movie's corporate tie-ins are relentless: Kids ignore their parents while immersed in Beats by Dre headphones. Parkgoers can be seen swilling Starbucks, and the velociraptor trainer played by Chris Pratt takes big, refreshing gulps of Coca-Cola.

The dinosaur park's main shopping center includes a Pandora, the charm-jewelry store, and a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, the parrothead-themed restaurant. When Pratt's character races alongside the dinosaurs, he does so on his Triumph Scrambler, a new model made by the U.K.'s biggest motorcycle maker.

"Hey, people of Triumph, can I have this motorcycle, please?" Pratt asked in a behind-the-scenes "featurette."

Spoiler alert: He gets one.

Many of the tie-ins become meta: a film joking about product placement while still reaping the corporate cash. In the movie, the dinosaur park is strapped for funding and takes on corporate sponsors. Its star dinosaur exhibit becomes "Verizon Wireless Presents The Indominus Rex." A side character jokes they should have gone even further, naming a dinosaur "Pepsi-saurus."

The script, as Chicago Tribune reviewer Michael Phillips wrote, "makes a tentative stab or two at rampant product placement early on, before getting down to the business of delivering rampant product placement."

The gaudiest tie-in comes through the movie's deal with Mercedes-Benz, whose G-Class SUV, Sprinter van and six-wheeled G-Wagen play leading parts, transporting dino-hunting troopers and conquering the jungle's rough roads. The German automaker's monstrous Unimog, only available outside the United States, also serves as a wheeled dinosaur veterinary unit.

In the movie, Pratt's Owen asks Claire, the steely operations manager — played by Bryce Dallas Howard — if she wants to "see something cool," before Benz's new GLE Coupe pulls onto the scene. In her New York Times review, Manohla Dargis wrote, "There are so many plugs for Mercedes that you may wonder if the targeted viewers are studio executives."

So it would not spoil the GLE Coupe's summer 2015 launch, Mercedes said it worked the SUV secretly into the filmmaking process a year and a half ago: "The security measures on set were huge," the carmaker said, so it could "be shielded from eager photographers."

Mercedes-Benz has tied its luxury autos to dinosaur movies ever since its outfitted M-Class SUVs whisked adventurers through the 1997 sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

But it has rarely wielded such influence on the production even after the film is over. The movie's premiere in Hollywood was sponsored by Mercedes, with the actors spilling onto the red carpet from a red Mercedes GLE Coupe then gliding into the theater past a themed Mercedes G-Class SUV.

Modern marketers see corporate tie-ins as increasingly valuable, because of the potential for a product's placement to be shared or talked about. After Samsung scored a coup at last year's Academy Awards, when a crop of movie stars took a selfie with its Galaxy Note, Allen Adamson, a managing director at branding firm Landor Associates, told the Wall Street Journal, "You can't buy that magic of going viral."

In China, Coca-Cola is running dinosaur ads packed with bottles of refreshing, red-label Coke. Product placement just might transcend language, after all.

— Washington Post


  1. Riley Kinn pauses during an interview in Fostoria, Ohio, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Although Kinn was assured by the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, that he'd have the chance to share his story with an independent review board, he never got the opportunity. After the diocese sent a retired police detective to interview him, who took names of others who could back his account, he learned by letter that the board had found his allegations “unsubstantiated.” Toledo Diocese spokeswoman Kelly Donaghy said the review board doesn’t promise victims they can testify, but examines each case in turn. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) PAUL SANCYA  |  AP
    Review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.
  2. Zum driver Stacey Patrick, right, waves goodbye to student Saahas Kohli, left, and his mother, Alpa Kohli, obscured behind her son, as he returns home from school in Saratoga, Calif. A handful of ride-hailing companies have surfaced that allow parents to order rides, and in some cases childcare, for children using smartphone apps. The promise is alluring at a time when children are expected to accomplish a dizzying array of extracurricular activities and the boundaries between work and home have blurred. But the companies face hurdles convincing parents that a stranger hired by a ride-hailing company is trustworthy enough to ferry their most precious passengers. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) BEN MARGOT  |  AP
    Ride-hailing companies resolve a dilemma many parents face: how to pick up your kids from school while holding a full-time job.
  3. In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo former White House adviser on Russia, Fiona Hill arrives for a closed door meeting as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Donald Trump’s exchange with the Ukrainian president was like nothing he had ever seen, David Holmes said in an earlier deposition.
  4. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The woman was running across an intersection against a crosswalk control signal, troopers said.
  5. Integrity Express Logistics, which is expanding its Tampa office, matches freight with trucks to haul it in 48 states and Canada. (DANNY JOHNSTON | Associated Press) DANNY JOHNSTON  |  AP
    The company plans to hire at least 50 more employees and to spend $230,000 on renovations and new office equipment.
  6. Scott Purcell, a senior geophysicist with GeoView, left, and Mike Wightman, president of GeoView use ground penetrating radar technology to scan a portion of King High campus in search for Ridgewood Cemetery in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    Why would I discourage my daughters’ creativity and drive? Aside from being lazy, I was trying to shield them from disappointment.
  8. Phase 1A of the project includes closing W Cass Street from N Willow Avenue to N Boulevard. DIVYA KUMAR  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A stormwater system improvement project has resulted in fewer customers frequenting Cass Street businesses in North Hyde Park.
  9. James Rybicki, 63, faces charges of lewd and lascivious molestation and possession of child pornography. But he could go free after a judge found that Pinellas sheriff’s detectives and Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors lied to obtain a search warrant in his case. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A Pinellas sheriff’s detective and Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors “made false statements” to obtain a search warrant, a judge has ruled. The evidence was thrown out.
  10. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, with Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, the ranking member, concludes a day of testimony by key witnesses as it probes President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    The United States ambassador to the European Union told the impeachment inquiry his efforts to press Ukraine to announce investigations were ordered by President Trump, and top officials knew.