[Video] Detroit and Hollywood crisscrossing paths in successful movie alliances image

Vin Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto, roaring down the open road in a muscle car from the 1970s could be the perfect example for the latest auto industry marriage – with Hollywood glamour.

Cars in movies are nothing new, mostly because they attract the audiences and actually appeared as industries around the same time – but the Furious 7 blockbuster shows the alliances between Hollywood studios and automakers have reached new heights. Movie product placements are already small moves, with true partnerships having a dual-layer marketing approach – on one side car aficionados have an incentive to go into theaters, while movie fans might go out of there directly into a dealership. “The automaker and marketers are getting smarter at connecting people to the characters, almost making the cars human and building an emotional” link, comments Lincoln Merrihew, senior vice president of market research firm Millward Brown Digital.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV chief marketing officer Olivier Francois was looking exactly for that in the Furious 7 flick, a partner to the automaker’s Dodge brand. FCA US delivered almost 30 vehicles to the movie producers. The executive, known for his flair in setting up unique partnerships, sought the cars to be “part of a moment of the movie.” His intention can be clearly seen even from the trailers released ahead of Friday’s premiere – a green and black 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T was used by Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) to save Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) from falling off a cliff in a breathtaking, action-packed moment. The scene was tied to a national campaign, with the customer into a new Challenger R/T and then transported into an adrenaline-pumping “Furious 7″ fantasy.