Indy Jones 4: Tentpole Picture with Promotion and Tie-Ins to Match

On May 22, the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, arrives on the big screen two decades after the third. Per Hollywood, the buzz is huge and the movie is expected to be one of summer's biggest blockbuster.

Both exec-producer George Lucas and director Spielberg are known for their resourceful ideas when it comes to making and promoting their pictures. The new Indy should benefit from prime TV spots on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend that will feature car chases and Indiana Jones wielding his trademark bullwhip (you must have seen photos by now).

At 66, an older Harrison Ford back in the role of adventurer-archaeologist Indiana Jones., voted “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” as the summer's “most anticipated” movie. The fact that much of the plot has been kept under wraps has become a plus factor in motivating consumer interest.

Marketers for the movie say Indy still resonates with younger consumers, thanks to cable airings and DVDs. Brans such as M&M's, Dr. Pepper, Expedia, Burger King, and Kraft Lunchables have all launched big-budget marketing tie-ins. Dr. Pepper will run Web print and TV ads that promote its link with the movie. Cans and bottles will have pictures of Indiana Jones. Buyers of 23 or more cans will get a lot more than they expected: iPod Nano preloaded with the movie franchise's musical theme.

The past three movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) have jointly won seven Oscars and made $1.2 billion in global box-office.

Among the promotional partners are M&M's: The Mars Snackfood US brand has launched limited-edition M&M's Mint Crisp Chocolate Candies. The candies, which are made with semisweet chocolate and have a crispy rice center, are white and green to reflect the “jungle feel” of the movie, says Michele Kessler, Mars marketing vice president. TV ads show M&M's spokescharacters swinging from ropes, and print ads feature a new M&M's character who resembles Indy Jones.

Lunchables Maxed Out: The Kraft lunch line aimed at tweens will feature images of Indy Jones, as well as LaBeouf's Mutt Williams, on 15 million packages.

Working with travel site Expedia, Kraft will sponsor a giveaway of 10 adventure trips to the Southwest and Mexico.

Burger King: Starting May 12, the chain will offer an Indy Whopper with two burger patties, spicy sauce, bacon and pepper-jack cheese. Stores will have posters of Burger King's character dressed as Indy Jones, with leather jacket, fedora and whip.

Dr. Pepper: As part of a “Passport to Explore” sweepstakes, the Cadbury Schweppes brand will offer prizes such as movie tickets, Indy T-shirts and, with partner Expedia, Indy-themed vacations that include airfare and hotel and activities in Egypt, India, Jordan and Peru.

Expedia: Travel website also will conduct its own Indiana Jones-theme sweepstakes with adventure trips as prizes. Expedia will soon begin selling Indy Jones adventure travel packages.