The Brand Partners Of The Mission Impossible Franchise [Infographic]


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Box office action films, especially spy capers, are a mecca for luxury and high-tech brand partnerships.  The storylines provide seamless showcase opportunities, the typical associated cast are mega A-list actors, and the international audiences provide a global platform to launch co-branded media campaigns.  What more could a brand desire?

And one of the most time-tested, popular, and brand-friendly of these films is the Mission Impossible franchise.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares an infographic our team created on the brand partnerships of Mission Impossible through the decades.

Brands of Mission Impossible

The Box Office Giant’s History Of Brand Partnerships

Since the advent of special agent film franchises, like the James Bond series, luxury automobile manufacturers have found a consistent and exciting use for their vehicles in movies. Much like James Bond’s penchant for Aston Martin cars, Ethan Hunt, the protagonist of the Mission: Impossible series, played by Tom Cruise, almost exclusively drives BMWs. In contrast, the antagonists of the film series drive Land Rovers, Mercedes Benzes, Audis, and a number of other luxury vehicles. The partnership between the franchise and BMW is the most recognizable in the entire series of films and has been to date, wildly successful for both parties.

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BMW Sales Soar Due To Franchise

So how exactly does a brand like BMW benefit from a partnership like this one? In 2011 when Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was released, BMW ousted Mercedes Benz as the number-one luxury vehicle brand in the United States for the first time. Perhaps one of the keys to this success? An organic partnership that lacked over-the-top obvious brand advertising in the movie. Neither Ethan nor the other characters explicitly say “BMW” at any point, nor are there any distinctive flashes of the company’s logo.

Yet audiences clearly recognized that Ethan was driving a BMW. Of course, their split grille design is rather unique and is just as distinctive, even without BMW’s circular propeller logo thrust front and center. The major promotional push on the radio and at dealerships helped cement the relationship.  Regardless of the inner workings behind the increase in BMW sales, it is clear that the Mission: Impossible series has made a tremendous impact on sales.


Apple’s Long-Term Partnership

Automobiles aren’t the only gadgets that spies make use of, however. In 1996 when Mission: Impossible was first released, an adolescent Apple partnered with the film. A TV ad for the Apple PowerBook, featuring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, was released featuring a tagline to a website at the very end,

Apple was in its infancy in 1996, at least compared to the heights it has soared to today, and the publicity that Mission: Impossible gave it was quite welcome. At the time, Apple was not looking to reach a specific sales goal but was interested in increasing brand awareness, which absolutely succeeded. The practice of product placement is a core marketing technique still used by the brand today.

We can't take the credit for the below image... but it does show that viewers at home notice things that, well... might not be typical.


Apple has, just like BMW also created co-promotional partnerships with the film.


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Oakley To The Rescue

Technology is only one of many venues in which companies get involved with special agent movies. Oakley partnered with the later Mission: Impossible films, like M:I:II and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Following the release of M:I:II, it has been reported by Oakley that consumers walked into Oakley retail stores specifically requesting the glasses Tom Cruise wore in the movie, jacking up sales to a whopping $100 million in the second quarter of 2000. According to the LA Times, “Earnings surges 80%, far exceeding analysts’ expectations, marking the company’s second strong quarterly performance after a lackluster 1999” (LA Times, 2000).  


The Infographic

Check out the infographic our team created on the brands of Mission Impossible!


product placement guide

Toshiba Takes It To The Small Screen

Paramount partnered with another technology company in 2011 for the release of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Toshiba’s campaign highlighted their televisions, which were marketed as having a “clear, crisp sound” and a “sleek, elegant, and power-efficient design.” Ghost Protocol was featured on the televisions in the advertisements, which were meant to “emphasize the vibe of the movie and what it [had] to offer.”  


DHL Drives Away With A TV Spot

In MI:3 DHL was featured in a key scene with Tom Cruise and another agent dressed as drivers, who created a diversion as part of the storyline with the DHL van.  DHL then crafted a TV spot that ran globally themed to MI:3.

Check out the spot below!

DHL Mission Impossible 2
Mission Impossible DHL

DHL Mission Impossible

And The Winner Is...

The above-mentioned brands, as well as a number of others like Coca-Cola and 7-eleven, were not the only parties involved in partnerships with the Mission: Impossible series.

Consumers also had a chance to get involved in the action through sweepstakes and giveaways through these listed brand partners.  And taking it a step further, Excite, a website personalization service, partnered with the Mission: Impossible II to create an online sweepstakes in which a 2000 Porsche Boxster, a trip to Australia, and a CD Soundtrack were given away. 

product placement infographic - free download

How To Make This Success Happen For Your Brand

Clearly, Mission: Impossible’s brand partners have benefitted over the years from the relationships they have had with the film franchise. The films subsequently each enjoyed additional box office success driven by brand partners who utilized their own media campaigns to help more fans connect with the franchise.  

Read more about the partnership in our blog: Real World Product Placement In Zootopia

Interested to see other successful brand partnerships? We have you covered! Check out some of our other blogs on previous promotions and marketing strategies, and see what some out of the box thinking can do for your brand when it comes to entertainment!

Have you ever wondered how a comprehensive product placement program works? Or do you want to know how to create a promotional partnership strategy with a movie partner? This video will answer all of your questions as it shows the steps and processes taken by Hollywood Branded that lead to your brand increasing both consumer engagement and sales!

How Product Placement Works Video