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What a mess with Iron Man ad

April 23, 2008

What a mess we had this last week with Paramount Pictures and an Iron Man promotion ad.

Short story: Rather than pony up for a print ad promoting the movie, Paramount wanted a trade ad: It would give us free movie tickets and memorabilia to hand out if we would give them a free full page ad with color. The value of the giveaways would supposedly be what the ad would normally cost.

Iron Man contest imageWe balked at first, but then thought it might be a good way to promote signups for our online Talon Marks and Talon Marks MySpace sites. We could hold a drawing for interested subscribers/friends and maybe pick up some new ones in the process. We tried to get fewer movie passes and at least one thing of greater value that we could use as a First Prize in the drawing. No dice, Paramount would not budge.

Now keep in mind, that a full page ad would require extra pages (i.e. cost to us) and we had no other advertiser with a color ad, so cost for color would come out of our pocket. We finally reluctantly agreed to a half page ad and decided to spend a little money buying a couple of iPod Shuffles to give away and some dinner gift cards: make an evening of it.

But Paramount balked at the dinner gift cards because its movie partner was Burger King; if we were buying the cards, we didn’t plan to give away Burger King cards. Not that there is anything wrong with Burger King, but we were looking for something a bit more exotic. “Fine,” we said, “we’ll not mention where the cards were good for and just advertise it as a dinner and movie.” Nope, not good enough. We’re surprised that they let us give away the iPod Shuffles!

And then to cap it off, the movie tickets are good for only one showing on one night at one theater. Seems they’re trying to pack the press showing. And a ticket is not a guarantee of admission; they’ve purposely overbooked the theater in hopes of filling it up. Show up after the theater is full and you are out of luck; no rain checks.

Oh, and one more nagging detail. Paramount lied to us and said that it was setting up this promo only with University of California Irvine and Cerritos College –no other area community colleges. Mid-way into the process we found out that it had also set up a promo relationship with Fullerton College.

Hope we get some new subscribers/friends out of the experience. It will be a long time before we agree to a trade ad again. Not much in it for us.

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