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by Tim Beissmann

General Motors will share the silver screen with Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari in Transformers: Dark of the Moon – the third installment in the popular Hollywood sci-fi series.

The famous yellow Chevrolet Camaro, Bumblebee, will be joined in the Autobot ranks by a blue Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan called Que and a red Ferrari 458 Italia called Dino. A non-transforming Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Gullwing will also make an appearance among the good guys.

The casting of those particular cars was no accident. Automotive product placement in films is a massive business.

Some marketing experts have suggested the price of getting a hero role in a film like Transformers could be in the range of $10 million.

GM, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari have all previously declined to comment on the price they paid for airtime in the upcoming film.

According to Chevrolet spokesman, David Caldwell, the Bumblebee connection has been worth every penny.

He told The Hollywood Reporter that approximately 10 percent of Camaro sales for the current 2011 model year have been yellow, which is more than double the usual rate.

Sales of the Camaro have increased rapidly in recent years, from 60,000 in 2009 to 80,000 in 2010, and Mr Caldwell said the Transformers link had a measureable impact.

It’s no coincidence that a number of the transforming villains (known as Decepticons) in the first two films were Ford Motor Co. vehicles either, although that’s a topic that Mr Caldwell had less to say about.

What do you think about automotive product placement in films? Do you think it adds value to the vehicle brand, or cheapens the movie experience? Or perhaps both?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.




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