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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 04:55 GMT 05:55 UK
The car's the (movie) star
Piers Brosnan's car from the movie Die Another Day
The name's Martin. Aston Martin.

Pity Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry and Tom Cruise.

Why? Because their new cars have been taken away from them and shipped to Birmingham.

Die Another Day poster
Art, or a massive car advertisement?
The wheels of the Hollywood stars are on display at the motor show where they are being touted as movie stars in their own rights.

Which, indeed, they are.

Each of them are prominently displayed in high profile movies, driven by popular and famous actors.

Fords on display

And what better place to showcase an Aston Martin than a James Bond movie?

"It's great to see Bond back in a British car. He's back where he belongs," said a satisfied Bob Dover, chief operating officer of Aston Martin Jaguar and Land Rover.

BMW Films poster
BMW Films "just happen" to have BMW's in their scripts
But Mr Dover's product placement does not stop there - one of his Jaguars will also star in the latest Bond movie, Die Another Day, driven by Rick Yune.

Even the Thunderbird driven by the Bond Girl, Halle Berry, is made by Ford, the car giant which owns both Aston Martin and Jaguar.

All the cars are on display at the motor show where they are resting on a massive sheet of ice.

"These are the auto stars of the new film, with their heat seeking missiles, guns, rockets and an ejector seat," Mr Dover said.

"There are enough arms here to take out a small town."

Electric Lexus

Tom Cruise's electric Lexus sports car, made famous by the science fiction movie Minority Report, can also be seen at the show.

Tom Cruise's car in Minority Report
A car built for cruising?
The car, which was made especially for the movie, is fully driveable.

But Lexus, which is more famous for low key luxury than for loud flamboyance, has no plans to start producing the car.

BMW films

With James Bond having ditched BMW's Z3 two-seater as his car of choice, the German car maker was forced to look elsewhere for a movie to sell its new, rather similar, though a bit boxier, Z4 sports car.

BMW, which has decided to skip this year's motor show in Birmingham, has instead turned to its movie vehicle, BMW Films, a production company which produces action movies.

"We're entertainment that just happens to have a BMW in the script," insisted BMW North America marketing executive, Jim McDowell.

"It's taking a brand and creating an entertainment vehicle around it."

BMW's movies are not made on the cheap. The production company operates with $10m budgets for the 10 minute movies.

Stars like Guy Ritchie, Ang Lee and John Frankenheimer, as well as John Woo and Tony Scott, have directed the films.

And 14 million people saw the first series of BMW movies which were distributed via the internet.

BMW's next two movies, Ticker and Beat the Devil, will be released in November.

Mercedes advertainment

A similar ploy was pulled by DaimlerChrysler this summer.

Director Michael Mann made a fast and furious trailer for a thriller starring Benicio Del Toro as a stock market guru with a taste for the high life of gambling and zooming around in a Mercedes convertible.

Only, the movie itself was never made.

Yet, the trailer was shown in cinemas, together with other trailers for actual movies, long after the adverts had left the screen.

The advertainment ended with the promise: "Coming soon"; a reference, apparently, to the new Mercedes SL - not to a forthcoming movie.


Cars and strategies

The Paris show

TALKING POINT
See also:

04 Jul 02 | Entertainment
19 Oct 02 | Scotland
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