Transformers II: Most Expensive GM Ad Ever

More

Transformers II, the mega-blockbuster movie opening this week, is already smashing revenue records. Somewhat unlike the company that made most of the transforming cars: General Motors. But think happy thoughts for GM. Sweeping, sexy shots of their muscle cars doing sweeping, sexy muscle car things is apparently the only part of the movie getting decent reviews. (Ahem, that's what strategic advertising looks like!) Even the name of the film -- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen -- sounds like a bold prophecy for the bankrupt auto maker. With a $200 million price tag, could this film be the most expensive, most effective, most auspicious car advertisement in American history?


Here's to praying: "General Motors is hoping its wide-ranging promotional deal with the big-screen Transformers movie will turn around sales woes." That's according the Associated Press. In 2007. Oh no.

GM supplied 65 cars for the sequel, and has run some cross-promotional advertising. But film executives have said that the company's bankruptcy has been what people in both industries know as a "drag." Tie-in campaigns are supposed to be a boon to film revenues, and GM has been forced to scale back on its Tranformers ads, on account of it having no money.

To put the fall of GM in perspective: a Chinese company offered to buy Hummer at a price financial analysts put at $500 million or lower. The last Transformers film, which this iteration is expected to eclipse, made $700 million, almost 50 percent more than the Hummer deal in worldwide gross revenue. Transformers II might not be able to save General Motors, but with its revenue, the studio could buy the entire Hummer line. I'm not sure if it's worth owning the rights to produce every Hummer in the world. But I would certainly pay money to watch Michael Bay blow every last one of them into spectacular smithereens.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In