smart fortwo in "Pink Panther" Movie

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(from DaimlerChrysler Press Release)  His case: the Pink Panther. His car of choice: the smart fortwo. Inspector Clouseau is back on the hunt for criminals – and this time, in the remake of the cinema classic “The Pink Panther”, he's driving the smartest car in film history. The producers of the Hollywood film first became aware of this cult two-seater on a visit to Europe. “As a mobile companion for a contemporary Clouseau, the smart fortwo is the ideal choice: Both of them stand out from the crowd in a very positive way – for me, it’s the perfect match,” says Oliver Hoffmann, head of Marketing Communications at smart. Today the film is celebrating its world premiere in Los Angeles, and at the end of February it will be released in cinemas in more than 30 countries. “The Pink Panther” will be shown in cinemas throughout Germany as of March, 6th.

With a total of seven appearances, the smart fortwo is well represented on the screen. While it comes across as something of an action hero, its fun side is by no means overlooked. At one point, for example, Clouseau, played by Steve Martin, attempts to manoeuvre the 2.5 metre-long car into an enormous parking space. In the process, he succeeds in wrecking two other vehicles. In another scene, Clouseau’s boss Dreyfuss, played by Kevin Kline, is dragged by a smart through the streets of Paris. “This very natural product placement in the new Pink Panther film is a real stroke of luck,” Hoffmann explains. In the film, the smart fortwo is presented to cinema-goers as a sporty city car with wit and personality, whose size alone gives it plenty of advantages around town. This form of communication will strike a chord with our customers, many of whom are film enthusiasts.”

More than 40 years after Peter Sellers first introduced cinema audiences to the character of Inspector Clouseau in the film classic “The Pink Panther”, director Shawn Levy has produced a fast-moving remake of the legendary detective comedy. He gave himself just three months to film all of the scenes in New York, Paris, Prague and Rome. As well as the 53 actors and 602 crew members, there were a total of ten smart cars present on set.

Internet users can get a feel for the film in advance of the German premiere, and become involved in the search for the stolen diamond. Because from 6 February until 17 March 2006, smart will be offering visitors to www.smart.com/pinkpanther the opportunity to crack the case themselves. In a lavishly produced online special, users will be able to enjoy a mix of real-life photos and 3D illustrations. They will be “personally” greeted by Inspector Clouseau, and will then be able to proceed through a series of interactive indoor and outdoor scenes from the film. Those who demonstrate the necessary skill in this original online game and collect enough points will have the chance to take part in a gripping real-life adventure: The ten participants who qualify for the final will travel with their partners to Paris at the beginning of April. They will hunt for the jewel in a smart fortwo – and the clever couple who track it down will be rewarded with a smart fortwo as first prize.

As well as allowing visitors to take part in the competition, the website also offers some appealing additional features, such as information on the film, and a screensaver. They will also be able to access technical data relating to the smart fortwo and, if interested, directly arrange a test drive.

smart’s marketing activities relating to the product placement of the smart fortwo in the film “The Pink Panther” are part of the company's new marketing-strategy. smart’s so-called “focused marketing” (FoMa) strategy means that it is concentrating more than ever on combining different forms of advertising that will appeal directly to customers and potential customers. “With the inexorable changes that are taking place in the media landscape, and several thousand TV spots per day, we have become convinced of the need for drastic change – in other words, we need to focus,” explains Anders Sundt Jensen, member of the smart management board. This change in the company's marketing strategy should help to minimise losses resulting from insufficiently selective advertising. The focus has shifted considerably to below-the-line activities such as promotions, product placements and sponsorships. As part of smart’s integrated European campaign, regional and local activities will be stepped up to ensure that customers are addressed in a targeted way.