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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Steven Spielberg loves billboards. That's the simple explanation for those giant double-billboard promos for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" throughout Los Angeles, as well as the huge Indy messages plastered around all four sides of Madison Square Garden in New York.
Paramount mounted a big outdoor-advertising campaign in 2007 for the Spielberg-produced "Transformers," and when the studio was strategizing how to scream "event pic!" in marketing the Spielberg-directed Indy sequel, the creative hyphenate had just one suggestion: more.
"Steven said, 'I know they always do big billboards in L.A., but let's do them all over,"' said Steve Siskind, executive vice president advertising and marketing at Paramount.
That enthusiasm led to the MSG placements adjacent to commuter-nexus Penn Station as well as major billboard "dominations" -- that's what the industry calls it when you really "own" a site, Siskind noted -- in Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas and elsewhere. Airports were targeted in several hub markets.
Several Los Angeles sites were selected for their proximity to freeways.
"I guess it's kind of a trains, planes and automobiles strategy," Siskind chuckled.
To make the Los Angeles locations stand out, Paramount went to CBS Outdoor and other vendors of billboard sites it uses throughout the year and asked whether there was a chance of adding adjacent sites to allow one message to run across two billboards.
Paramount execs said they believed it was the first time anyone has employed multiple billboards for a single movie message.
The Indy campaign's other splashy L.A. signage includes promos on all four sides of a building under construction at Sunset and Vine and, at the intersection of Venice and La Cienega boulevards, a concentration of no fewer than eight billboards.
"L.A. in many cases is 10 percent of our boxoffice," Siskind said. "(So) it's a great market for billboards."
Nationwide, the Indy campaign comprises about 2,000 billboards, wall messages, bus-side promos and other "out of home" messages. Executives wouldn't disclose the cost of the campaign. Outdoor advertising on tentpole releases generally costs $2 million to $4 million, and Siskind said that Paramount didn't spend any more than the norm.