January 25, 2010
By ANDREA AHLES
When Paramount Pictures decided to make the movie Up in the Air, the studio had its usual pre-production checklist.
Hire an award-winning director. (Jason Reitman. Check.)
Get a handsome Hollywood movie star. (George Clooney. Check.)
Find an airline. (Huh?)
The story of corporate layoff consultant Ryan Bingham involved his attempt to hit 10 million frequent-flier miles, and that intrigued American Airlines, which has over 20 million members in its AAdvantage frequent-flier program.
So in the fall of 2008, when Paramount approached American about using its airplanes, terminals and Admirals Clubs, the Fort Worth-based carrier said yes to one of the more comprehensive movie product-placement deals done in Hollywood.
And with the movie raking in $71 million and a Golden Globe so far, it looks like the deal has paid off.
"American Airlines didn’t pay a penny, and they got enormous favorable publicity, and in return, Paramount saved a lot of money to make their movie," said Daniel Howard, a marketing professor at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.
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