Over the weekend, I watched Batman Begins on Blu-ray. Great movie, hadn’t seen it in awhile – and my crazy marketing brain noticed something odd. On the case insert (the little flyer stuffed inside with the disc), there was a cross-promotional marketing piece for Symantec’s Norton Anti-Virus software (a little dated, yes – the movie came out in 2005). The creative was stuffed with Batman, as you’d expect. But… what’s the logical association between anti-virus software and Batman? All that I could come up with was that like the caped crusader, Norton Anti-Virus is battling it out with the bad guys (in this case, malware and computer viruses)… but that’s a bit of a stretch.

In this world, down is up and up is down. Some of the most visible cross-promotional marketing campaigns out there — orchestrated by some of the biggest brands in the world — make ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE from a contextual standpoint. What’s the purpose of cross-promotional marketing? Simply, the main goal is to leverage the distribution channels of a strategic partner (or at the least, a non-competitor) to enhance the visibility of your brand or product.

Okay, makes sense. Simple… right?

But this contextual association made little sense to me. If we examine this as a business case… it becomes clearer. Since the point of cross-promotional marketing is to leverage a strategic partner (or non-competitor’s) distribution channels to enhance your brand or product’s visibility, it’s really just a battle for eyeballs. Well, Hollywood (in this case, Warner Bros.) has a MASSIVE product distribution network. Millions of DVDs (or Blu-rays) hit the shelves in a single week when the film is released to the public. That translates into big visibility for Symantec’s (then) flagship product. Since Warner Bros. doesn’t compete in the anti-virus software space, it’s a relatively safe partnership for Symantec.

Ideally, we want the cross-promotional marketing campaign to make sense from a brand integrity standpoint AS WELL AS a promotional standpoint. But, sometimes the number of eyeballs on a piece is more important than the brand association.

So how does this affect you, Ottawa business owner? Cross-promotional marketing can be a powerful way to cooperate with other business owners and build relationships that will prove valuable down the road. Believe it or not, there are opportunities to pursue cross-promotional marketing right here in Ottawa, and ones that make sense both for the brand and for distribution visibility. Spoiler: exhibitions or trade shows, shared-lease spaces, and print advertising slots are rife with them. Curious? Leave a question below!