The summer moviegoing season is a time for superheroes, explosions — and marketing tie-ins. Some are a common-sense pairing of cinema and brand — "Fast & Furious 6" and Dodge, "The Hangover: Part III" and Caesar's Palace Las Vegas — while others are a little more perplexing.
Here's a list of some of this year's most over-the-top and unexpected movie tie-ins:
The movie: "Man of Steel"
The product: Hardee's (East Coast) and Carl's Jr.'s (West Coast) Super Bacon Cheeseburger
The concept: It takes many brands to save Metropolis. The upcoming Superman movie starring Henry Cavill has deals with 100 companies, including Gillette, Wal-Mart and eyeglass maker Warby Parker. One head-scratcher is "Man of Steel's" fast-food tie-in, a calorie-laden sandwich promising four extra strips of bacon. Given Cavill's sculpted physique in the film, it seems obvious Superman would see a bacon cheeseburger as nothing short of Kryptonite. Perhaps that's why it's a construction worker who actually takes a bite in this Man of Steel-themed ad.
The movie: "The Internship"
The product: Google
The concept: Shot in part on the tech company's Mountain View campus and featuring a cameo by co-founder Sergei Brin, this comedy stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as unsuccessful salesmen who secure a couple of Google's coveted internships. Google participated in the movie — which highlights products like Gmail, Google Plus and its self-driving car — to boost interest in high-tech careers and promote its internal ideal of "Googleyness." Yes that's an actual word people at Google use. Seriously. Google it.
The movie: "The Great Gatsby"
The product: Tiffany & Co.
The concept: Rich people used to live even more decadently in the Roaring '20s than they do in Lil Wayne videos — or so say the Cliffs Notes for "The Great Gatsby." So it makes sense that luxury brands like Brooks Brothers and Tiffany appear both in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation — bedecking stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in pink linen and platinum — and in tie-in product lines for real people. And by real people we mean those of you who have $200,000 to drop on Daisy Buchanan's diamond-and-pearl headband with detachable brooch.
The movie: "Despicable Me 2"
The product: Fatherhood
The concept: Animated supervillain Felonius Gru used to be concerned with ambitious heists like stealing the moon, but in this sequel, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is more worried about being a good dad to his three adopted daughters. It's a theme the National Fatherhood Clearinghouse Council, a government program charged with promoting responsible fatherhood, has seized on for a group of PSAs. (If this seems awfully high-minded for Hollywood, bear in mind the movie also has a banana-scented fart gun for sale in its toy line).
The movie: "Star Trek: Into Darkness"
The product: Audi
The concept: Occasionally a movie's marketing halo is what Spock would call highly illogical. The official automobile tie-in for J.J.Abrams' "Star Trek" sequel is Mazda, but the car that raised eyebrows was Audi, for a 2-minute, 45-second viral video starring the franchise's two lead Vulcans, Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, racing each other to a country club. Perhaps the real loser here is the car Nimoy drives in the ad, a Mercedes. From behind the wheel, elder Spock moans, "I feel like I'm stuck in a black hole."
The movie: "Turbo"
The product: The Indianapolis 500
The concept: Turbo, a humble garden snail voiced by Ryan Reynolds, dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500 in this film from DreamWorks Animation. The real speedway is part of the movie — DreamWorks artists traveled to Indianapolis to take in a race and study its scale. Indy 500 winners Dario Franchitti and Mario Andretti both appeared in a spot for "Turbo," which aired during this year's race in May, thus cornering the small but mighty racing/mollusk crossover fan market.