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'Ultimate' Lionsgate Campaign

30 Jan, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lionsgate is showing some super marketing power. The mini-major has launched an ambitious cross-brand campaign for Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, the first CG-animated DVD feature from Lionsgate and Marvel Enterprises.

Based on the Marvel Comics series “The Ultimates,” the film will feature such Marvel characters as Captain America, The Hulk and Thor.

To create greater consumer awareness for the DVD/UMD release, which streets Feb. 21 at $19.98, Lionsgate has partnered with Internet service provider NetZero and Playmates Toys, among others.

The DVD also will be promoted in a TV, print and Internet campaign targeting Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, Sci Fi Channel, Marvel Comics, Wizard Magazine, Xbox Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official PlayStation Magazine, IGN, Google, NetZero, Yahoo.com and others.

Beginning Feb. 1, Playmates will begin plugging Ultimate Avengers on national TV ads for its Marvel-licensed Battle Dice action figure board game. Lionsgate will include a Battle Dice insert in its packaged media in addition to a TV spot on the DVD.

NetZero Feb. 7 will begin an online video ad campaign for its Internet phone service, Voice, which includes plugs for the Ultimate Avengers DVD and a sweepstakes for a trip to the Wizard World Comic Convention in Los Angeles during March to meet the film's voice talent. More winners will receive the film's DVD and autographed merchandise.

“NetZero's tagline, ‘Defenders of the Free World,' ties in nicely with the Avengers' motto, ‘Defenders of the Free World,’ said Michael Rathauser, VP of marketing for Lionsgate.

The studio will promote Voice with a DVD insert and distribution of co-branded Voice starter kits at the studio's booths at comic conventions. Both companies also have established Web sites at www.netzerovoice.com/avengers and www.ultimateavengers.com.

“The campaign appeals to adults and comic book fans and will help us to build ultimately what is a new animation franchise,” Rathauser said.

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