“Monster Trucks” Movie Takes Product Placement to a New Level
Rob Lowe, Danny Glover among cast of kid-friendly live-action/animated movieby Mark McNabb, on
Paramount Pictures is working its post-production magic on a new live action and CGI combo flick called Monster Trucks. Yep, it’s a play on words as the movie combines digitally created monsters inhabiting live action trucks with big tires and interacting with real actors. Watch the trailer and you’ll see some big-name actors, along with quite a few Ram pickup trucks. A lot of Ram trucks, actually.
You’ll also see nearly every other FCA product thanks to a scene taking place at a Chrysler, Jeep, Ram dealership. Ram 1500s, 2500s, 3500s, and Power Wagons? Check. Ram ProMaster? Check. Lonely Chrysler 200s in the background? Check again.
The remainder of the two-minute trailer shows the good guys driving Ram trucks, the bad guys driving Ram trucks, random extras in the background driving Ram trucks – it’s like the movie was filmed behind Ram’s Auburn Hills, Michigan headquarters. In reality, the movie was shot in British Columbia, Canada, with plenty of picturesque backdrops like rolling hills, small towns, and two-lane highways – all full of Ram trucks. There’s even a Case forklift, a brand that’s owned by CNH Industrial, which has ties to Fiat.
The movie’s main character, Tripp, finds himself the keeper of an alien monster that looks like the ungodly offspring between an octopus and whale. Of course, the blob-thing is friendly and loves to impersonate drivetrain components in Tripp’s old 1954 Dodge pickup. Government bad guys try to contain the scary-because-we-don’t-know-what-it-is monster and the predictable plotline kicks off.
I reached out to Ram about the blatant number of its products in the move. I was told, “We [have] a product placement agreement with Paramount Pictures and provided Ram trucks for the Monster Truck movie, coming in January.” You most certainly did, Ram. You most certainly did.
The movie is slated to debut in U.S. theaters in January of 2017.
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Why It Matters
Wow, I honestly can’t think of another movie with so many product placements for a single brand done in such a blaringly obvious fashion. There’s no hiding it, not at all. I mean, every square inch of the movie is covered in Ram. Heck, even the engine Tripp is wrenching on is a Hemi V-8. The wrecked vehicles in the junkyard, yep, Ram as well. Now, in all fairness, I did spot a few errant non-Ram vehicles. There’s a Ford Taurus and an old Mercedes 180b sedan just behind the totaled-out Ram in the junkyard, and there’s a 1980s Toyota Corolla and 4Runner at the gas station.
While Ram was very kind in answering my succinct email – the entirety of which said, “So I just saw the trailer for ‘Monster Trucks.’ Looks like Ram plays a large role in the movie. Care to confirm a partnership or elaborate on the subject?” – information regarding the movie apparently isn’t common knowledge around Ram HQ. It took three layers of email CCs to find someone with knowledge of the partnerships. That’s kind of surprising seeing that FCA supplied nearly every piece of moving machinery in the film.
All that aside, the movie looks like it would be fun for “tween-age” boys who like truck and still play with toy monsters. It sounds childish, but that market has huge potential to rake in profits. There’s initial ticket sales, toys, clothing, cross-promotional branding with your favorite breakfast cereal – it all has the potential to make money.
I don’t see this movie making Star Wars money or winning “Best Picture of the Year,” but the kids will love it. Hey, maybe this is what hooks a new generation on to trucks, off-roading, and wrenching on V-8s. And for that, I’m glad the movie is happening.