Video: White bread Wonder?

CNBC
updated 8/3/2006 1:56:57 PM ET 2006-08-03T17:56:57

It’s supposed to be one of the biggest movie hits of the summer. Tack on a clever marketing campaign for a brand in trouble and there’s a lot at stake with the soon to be released comedy "Talladega Nights."

Especially for the the folks at Interstate Bakeries Corp., the makers of Wonder Bread. Things haven’t been so wonderful for the company lately, but a gratuitous placement of its familiar, colorful logos all over what could become one of this summer’s hottest films could make America’s number one white bread top of mind again.

"Talladega Nights" might star Will Farrell, but Wonder Bread is also getting star billing, with its logos plastered all over Farrell’s character, NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby.

“Wonder is all about fun and Will Farrell being the great comedian that he is, is all about the fun," said Rich Seban of Interstate Bakeries. "We felt like it was a good mixture between the two and we are just thrilled to be part of the whole experience."

And the best part? It’s all free. Wonder Bread officials simply gave Sony Pictures the rights to use its logo. If the movie is a success, like other recent Will Ferrell movies "Elf," "Old School" and "Anchorman," the hurting brand could receive a huge boost.

“For them to have gone out, if they could buy this level of media, I mean what would that be?" said Tom Meyer, President of Davie-Brown Entertainment. "I’m going to guess tens of millions of dollars if not $100 million of media value. Then when you add on top of that, the relevance that you get from being connected to such a popular guy like Will Ferrell, the value is almost limitless."

All this comes at an opportune time for the brand, whose parent company still hasn’t emerged for the bankruptcy protection it entered into in September 2004 in the midst of the low carb craze.

“One of the things that has happened, and that’s a good thing, is it’s really added a sense of urgency to the whole organization," said Seban.

Cashing in on the movie is certainly one priority. Wonder Bread is putting Ferrell on the front of its Web site, awarding one lucky winner the fire suit and hat worn in the movie, another receiving a trip to the NASCAR race at Talladega this fall. With NASCAR.com pedaling collectibles as if Ricky Bobby were an actual driver, Wonder Bread is already enjoying the benefits of a title sponsorship that in the real world costs $15 million. All told, the movie may keep Wonder Bread from becoming toast.

“The bottom line is, if a consumer with a young kid is walking down the bread isle, and they take a look at what the choices are and they take a look at Wonder because they are top of mind, that’s going to be huge for this company. They are going to sell a lot of bread," said Meyer.

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