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Meet Loki, Hyundai pitchman. Can Marvel streaming shows sell SUVs and Disney+?

Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Meet Loki of Asgard, god of mischief and pitchman of compact SUVs.

As Walt Disney Co.-owned Marvel unveils its latest Disney+ series, "Loki," which premiered last week, the studio's popular superheroes have teamed with automaker Hyundai in an elaborate campaign to promote the new Tucson and the company's all-important streaming service.

The Marvel-produced vignettes, featuring tie-ins with the Marvel shows "WandaVision," "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," "Loki" and the upcoming animated "What If?," mark the first time Disney has used multiple series in a partnership campaign to boost Disney+.

Superheroes have sold cars and other consumer goods before.

The Hulk chased down Ant-Man for a can of Coke in a 2016 Super Bowl commercial ahead of the release of "Captain America: Civil War." Chadwick Boseman drove a Lexus as Black Panther in a 2018 spot made for that year's big game. Hyundai worked with Marvel for an Iron Man edition of the 2019 Kona, which included an engraved Tony Stark signature.

But the Disney+ campaign is unusual for its use of multiple franchises to promote streaming content, said Mindy Hamilton, Marvel Studios' senior vice president of partnership marketing.

 

"From a streaming perspective, a campaign like this has never been done before," she said. "I'm not aware of any auto campaign at this level in the streaming space."

While the web of storylines makes tie-ins complicated, the Disney-Hyundai campaign shows that studios are increasingly willing to unbox their franchises for marketing purposes. Campaigns like this may encourage more entertainment companies to find increasingly creative ways to share their characters.

"Their willingness to use their properties and characters and open them up is very different from in the past," said Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer of Hyundai Motor America. "Media companies are thinking in a new, fresh way about partnering with brands. I think everyone's being much more open-minded about what the future of these partnerships look like."

The spots feature Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson, appearing for the first time as the new Captain America since the end of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."

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