By Barry Janoff
June 3, 2016: When it comes time to fighting ghosts, demons and spirits from another dimension, who ya gonna call for marketing, activation and raising consumer awareness?
How about Kobe Bryant, Spike Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Hostess Twinkies filled with Key Lime Slime and a virtual reality experience at Madame Tussauds.
As Ray Parker Jr. wrote in the theme song for Ghostbusters, "(They) ain't afraid of no ghosts!"
An alliance between Sony Pictures and the NBA supports the release of the Ghostbusters movie reboot on July 15 as well the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. That pact put some high-profile athletes and director Spike Lee into the marketing fray.
In one NBA promo, text reads, "In the Eastern Conference," and cuts to New York Knicks teammates Porzingis and Carmelo shooting hoops in what appears to be an empty Madison Square Garden.
One of Porzingis' shots stops in mid-air and the ball is whisked away.
"Maybe it was a ghost," says Anthony. The lights then flicker and Lee appears sitting in the stands. "Yo, this is The Garden," he says. "There are ghosts all over!"
"Is he always here?" Porzingis asks Anthony. "Unfortunately," replies Anthony.
"I live here," Lee, a Knicks' season-ticket holder, explains. "This place is haunted by the greats."
Just then, Knicks legend Frazier appears in one of his trademark flamboyant suits.
A moment later, Slimer, the Ghostbusters ghoul who loves hot dogs, appears, is shown eating, of course, a mouthful of hot dogs, some of which he throws at the hoops players. That sends the four men into Ghostbusters mode, complete with garb and gear.
Kobe's spot begins with the text, "Meanwhile, in the Western Conference," and shows him sitting at a desk in Kobe Inc. A call on the phone sends him into Ghostbusters' fighting mentality.
In other activations, Hostess Brands has released a limited-edition of Twinkies with a Key Lime Slime green flavor and packaging with the iconic “No Ghost” sign.
“It’s only natural for Hostess to participate in a partnership with Ghostbusters, given the Twinkie’s appearance in the original movie,” Ellen Copaken, senior director-marketing for Hostess Brands, said in a statement. “Just like Twinkies, Ghostbusters has a loyal fan base that has remained passionate for generations. We hope fans are just as excited as we are to help bring this incredible franchise to life.”
Madame Tussauds in New York has unveiled what is being called a "multi-sensory, all-immersive environment" Ghostbusters: Dimension, a virtual reality experience based on the movie.
Ghostbusters: Dimension, developed by The Void (Vision of Infinite Dimensions) in collaboration with Ghostbusters creator Ivan Reitman and Sony Pictures, shows audiences "what it is like to be a Ghostbuster, tracking and trapping a supernatural foe through a New York apartment complex in an environment that combines physical props and sets, real-time interactive effects, and virtual reality technology."
According to Reitman, "Ghostbusters has an incredible, passionate fan following, and now VR technology allows the fans to become a Ghostbuster themselves within Madame Tussauds New York. The technology is breathtaking, the experience is thrilling, and what better way is there to use VR, than to let audiences inhabit the stories they love."
Among other Ghostbusters marketing and tie-ins:
• Sony has declared June 8 as "Ghostbusters Day" to honor the release date of the original film in 1984. That includes movie showings of the original film; a Ghostbusters Twitter Mission Sweepstakes, which will award such prizes as custom Ghostbusters uniforms; an the opportunity for Regal Cinemas Crown Club Members when they buy a ticket to see the original movie in-theater the chance to win a trip to the premiere of the new Ghostbusters film in Los Angeles, plus a $2500 gift card for travel and accommodations. (Details here.)
• Papa John's pizza said it would support its cameo in the movie with a TV spot "featuring one of the movie's most iconic characters" (breaking June 27), packaging and a limited-time product. “Movies bring people together, just like pizza, so this film partnership is a natural fit for us,” Robert Thompson, svp-marketing for Papa John’s, said in a statement.
• Dave & Buster's "Summer of Games" includes such new games as Ghostbusters, Galaga Assault, Star Wars and Battle Pod.
• Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is due out on July 15 on RCA Records and features Missy Elliot, Fall Out Boy, G-Eazy, Walk The Moon and 5 Seconds of Summer.
• Comic books from IDW have versions of stars from both the original and new film.
• Ghostbusters-themed board games are out from Cryptozoic Entertainment.
• A Ghostbusters video game from Activision will be available in the U.S. on July 12 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
• Stern Pinball unveiled a Ghostbusters pinball machine inspired by the original Columbia Pictures film.
The new Ghostbusters movie stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth and was directed by Paul Feig. The film is produced by Ivan Reitman and Amy Pascal, based on the 1984 Ghostbusters, an Ivan Reitman film, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.
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