For "Indy" billboard campaign, more is more

Tue May 13, 2008 2:07am EDT
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By Carl DiOrio

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.   Continued...

<p>Harrison Ford is back as Indiana Jones in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." REUTERS/Paramount Pictures/David James/Handout</p>