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Copyright 2003 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ March 24th 2003 ]

Jeep has replaced Land Rover as the vehicle of choice for Paramount Pictures' buxom adventurer Lara Croft. In the film, Angelina Jolie, who portrays Croft in Paramount's sequel Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life, will sit behind the wheel of a customized Rubicon, a modified version of Jeep's Wrangler off-roader.

The Croft character briefly drove a Land Rover Defender in the first "Tomb Raider" in 2001. The new customized Wrangler is expected to receive more screen time - and be available to consumers in limited numbers, a move that will enable the marketing pact between the automaker and Paramount to extend beyond a traditional three month campaign and now last a year or longer.

Jeep's marketing campaign, estimated by insiders to be valued at up to $10 million, is also expected to be considerably bigger than Land Rover's. Jeep, a division of DaimlerChrysler, will roll out a campaign of print ads and television spots roughly a month before the "Tomb Raider 2" release on July 25. But in a first, a 30-second television spot and 60-second promo to run in multiplexes will boast original footage featuring Jolie in character as the very British Croft praising the abilities of the very American Wrangler. The original footage, shot on set as the film was lensed, will be edited together with scenes from the film to resemble a traditional movie trailer.

"We were very fortunate," said Jeff Bell, VP of marketing for Jeep. "We didn't want to duplicate our efforts. It just made sense to shoot the commercials as the studio shot the film." The longer ad, created by Hollywood trailer house Aspect Ratio, will run during the first month of the picture's release. In addition to helping promote the eventual home video release of "Tomb Raider 2," Jeep will also extend the marketing reach of its tie-in with the movie by building 1,000 limited-edition "Tomb Raider"-themed Wrangler Rubicons.

The vehicles are likely to hit dealerships several months after the film's release. The Rubicons will be replicas of the three vehicles Chrysler Group's Jeep Design Studio and "Tomb Raider 2" production designers Kirk Petrucelli and Graham Kelley designed specifically for the film. The "Tomb Raider" tie-in represents the biggest film partnership Jeep has inked to date with a Hollywood production.

The deal joins a slew of other automotive tie-ins with Hollywood's summer slate, including Cadillac and Warner Bros.' "The Matrix" sequels, BMW's Mini Cooper with Paramount's "The Italian Job," Mazda with Fox's "X2," and Toyota with Warners' "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines" and Universal's "The Hulk."

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Lara Croft and Tomb Raider are trademarks of Square Enix Ltd. All Rights Reserved
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