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Jun 25, 2024
(Updated on
Jun 25, 2024

Minions Takeover: Gearing Up for 'Despicable Me 4' with an Action-Packed Marketing Campaign

In the highly anticipated "Despicable Me 4," Gru, the world's beloved supervillain-turned-Anti-Villain League agent, returns for the fourth installment in seven years, ushering in a bold new era of Minions mayhem. Following the 2022 summer blockbuster success of "Minions: The Rise of Gru," which grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide, Illumination's biggest global animated franchise is poised to captivate audiences once again.

Photo from Illumination 

As Illumination prepares for the highly anticipated release of "Despicable Me 4" on July 3rd, 2024, they are employing a unique and quirky marketing strategy to keep the series’ momentum going and attract both veteran enthusiasts and new viewers. This campaign includes conventional elements such as trailers to tease the film and build anticipation, along with billboards and posters in public spaces. However, Illumination is pushing the envelope further to ensure that this summer's tentpole release captivates audiences with its innovative approach.

Minion Meme Culture 

Illumination has devised a quirky new marketing plan to build hype for its summer release of Despicable Me 4, leveraging the star power of NBA superstar Nikola Jokić, center for the Denver Nuggets. The campaign kicked off in a memorable fashion when Jokić arrived at his team’s April 21 game against the LA Lakers dressed in a black zip-up jacket and striped gray scarf, mimicking the signature attire of Gru. This amusing resemblance sparked a flurry of viral social media posts on platforms like Twitter and TikTok. The Denver Nuggets' Twitter account joined the fun, posting an image of Jokić with a caption referencing Gru, which garnered over 73,000 likes in just two days.

Riding the wave of this social media buzz, Illumination quickly released a new 30-second spot for Despicable Me 4 during the game. The commercial featured a comedic gag where Jokić seeks advice from a therapist about an unexpected side effect of his new look, with the Minions mistaking him for Gru. 

Illumination’s marketing strategy taps into the meme subculture that has previously bolstered the Despicable Me franchise's appeal. This year, with Despicable Me 4 hitting theatres, the studio is betting on social media virality once again to kick-start its campaign. By blending star power, humour, and strategic timing, Illumination’s innovative marketing campaign for Despicable Me 4 is already generating significant buzz and engagement, setting the stage for a successful summer release.

Star-Studded Collaboration

BTS, the globally renowned Korean boy band, has transformed into Minions for their latest collaboration with "Despicable Me 4." This unique partnership was first teased by BTS last week on social media, sparking immediate fan excitement. As part of this collaboration, Funko is set to release a special collectible set featuring all seven BTS members—RM, Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook—reimagined as adorable Minions. Each figurine in this exclusive seven-pack is dressed in outfits inspired by BTS’s 2021 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Permission to Dance," complete with signature Minion goggles.

Photo from Entertainment Earth 

This collaboration extends beyond collectibles, encompassing a limited collection of merchandise including T-shirts, hoodies, sweats, and tote bags. These items are a joint effort between Illumination, Universal, and BTS’ label Big Hit. Adding an intriguing twist to the movie, "Despicable Me 4" introduces a new character, Poppy Prescott, who is an avid BTS fan, further cementing the bond between the film and the band.

To celebrate the launch, a series of pop-up events are scheduled across global hotspots. Fans can look forward to these exclusive gatherings in Los Angeles from June to July, Seoul in July, and Tokyo from August to September, where they can immerse themselves in the world of BTS and Minions.

Playful Partnerships: LEGO and Roblox Bring Minions to Life

LEGO, in collaboration with Illumination and Universal Products & Experiences, has officially announced the launch of two new sets tied to the much-anticipated release of "Despicable Me 4." This partnership, confirmed following LEGO’s playful April Fools joke featuring a supersized Minion, aims to celebrate the latest chapter in the globally beloved animated franchise.

The first of the new sets, 75583 Despicable Me 4 Minions and Gru's Family Mansion, delights minifigure enthusiasts with detailed figures of Gru and his family, set against the backdrop of their iconic mansion. This set is meticulously designed, featuring movie-specific elements such as a red couch, a fireplace, and a rocket-themed bedroom, complete with a vibrantly coloured treehouse.

The second set offers a more display-oriented experience with a Brick-Built Gru and a troupe of dancing Minions. This set comes alive with a ukulele-playing Mel and Kevin, who is humorously equipped with his fart gun, ensuring it captures the whimsical spirit of the Minions.

Both LEGO and their film studio partners hope these Despicable Me 4-themed sets will ignite fans' imaginations and create unforgettable creative experiences. As fans eagerly await the full reveal of the lineup, they can look forward to discovering hidden Easter eggs within these engaging sets.

Photo from LEGO

In an exciting collaboration, Illumination and Roblox are teaming up to offer fans a chance to enjoy Minion-themed in-game items. This partnership aims to build anticipation for the upcoming film by providing unique Minion backpacks that players can redeem with a Roblox gift card, available before July.

Roblox previously launched the "Despicable Me 4 - Roblox Heist Obby," a user-generated 3D experience where players can engage in different modes alongside Gru and the Minions. This new initiative with Illumination adds another layer of fun for fans of both franchises, allowing them to integrate their love for Minions into their Roblox adventures.

Sweet Treats and Delights: Minion-Inspired Flavours

Ferrero North America is joining in on the excitement surrounding Illumination's latest installment of the "Despicable Me" series, "Despicable Me 4," with limited-edition releases from its brands Keebler and Kinder Joy. Celebrating the film, Keebler has introduced Despicable Me 4 Rocky Road Fudge Stripes, and Kinder Joy is offering Despicable Me 4 Eggs, each containing one of eight collectible toys featuring beloved characters like Gru, Lucy, and the Minions—Stuart, Phil, Dave, Kevin, Jerry, and Carl.

Fans of the franchise can further engage with the Minions through Keebler's digital hub, "Open for Magic." By scanning the QR code found on the packaging, families can access a variety of Minion-themed games and surprises. Additionally, the toys from Kinder Joy come to life via Applaydu, a child-friendly mobile app that offers ad-free interactive experiences where children and their parents can engage in crafting unique homes, avatars, and even personalized bedtime stories.

Photo from Kinder

This summer, Cold Stone Creamery and Pinkberry are excited to announce their respective partnerships with Illumination's "Despicable Me 4,". Cold Stone Creamery introduces the delightful Despicamallow Ice Cream, featuring a vibrant yellow marshmallow flavour. Dive into the Mega Minion-inspired Creation and Cake, including the Mega Minion Marshmallow Meltdown—a creation inspired by the mischievous antics of the Minions. Savour this treat in a "Gotta Have It" size, served in a special edition Mega Jerry cup. Additionally, Cold Stone highlights its Heist Cream Cake, perfect for any fan of the franchise.

Simultaneously, Pinkberry is launching the Mega Minion Banana Pudding frozen yogurt. This new treat captures the creamy and cool essence of banana pudding, creating a delicious homage to the film. Available in participating Pinkberry stores nationwide, this flavour will be offered until August 1, 2024, making it a summer must-try for Despicable Me fans.

Photo from Pinkberry 

Volkswagen's Global Adventure with the Minions

Volkswagen has teamed up with the beloved Minions from the upcoming movie, Despicable Me 4, creating a thrilling collaboration that merges automotive excellence with animated charm. This partnership is set to enhance Volkswagen’s global marketing campaign, with the Minions playing a key role in promoting the brand across various regions.

In Germany, Volkswagen introduces special GOAL edition models inspired by the European football tournament, emphasizing themes of achievement and teamwork reflected in the Minions' adventures. These models, promoted in partnership with the German Football Association, offer exclusive equipment packages and enticing savings, appealing to football fans and car enthusiasts alike.

In North America, the Minions bring their humour and charm to the promotion of the Volkswagen Atlas, encouraging a spirit of adventure and fun that aligns perfectly with the Despicable Me franchise’s lighthearted tone. This campaign aims to engage audiences with a sense of exploration and merriment.

In Latin America and Mexico, Volkswagen focuses on the Teramont, highlighting the thrill of exploration and discovery. The Minions' adventurous nature complements the promotional efforts, attracting audiences to the excitement of new horizons with Volkswagen.

Volkswagen’s Chief Marketing Officer, Susanne Franz, notes that the Minions' likeable and approachable nature aligns seamlessly with Volkswagen’s brand image. Their humour and playfulness add a unique touch to the marketing strategy, capturing the spirit of the European Championship and engaging audiences in an innovative way.

The collaboration spans various markets, each tailored to resonate with local audiences. From the excitement of the European football tournament in Germany to the adventurous spirit in North America and Latin America, Volkswagen’s marketing initiatives are set to captivate audiences worldwide.

The partnership between Volkswagen and Illumination’s Despicable Me 4 presents a unique opportunity to blend humour, innovation, and creativity. By incorporating the Minions’ distinctive charm into Volkswagen’s campaigns, this collaboration aims to drive engagement and create a memorable experience for audiences across the globe.

Social Media Spectacle

Following the success of House of the Dragon's viral marketing campaign, where enormous banners adorned landmarks worldwide, Illumination Studio has adopted a similar approach to promote its upcoming movie, Despicable Me 4. While House of the Dragon's dramatic promotional stunts shocked fans, Despicable Me 4's campaign brought amusement.

Universal Pictures' Despicable Me 4 made a significant impact with an impressive campaign at London's Tower Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. It also became a major attraction at Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sugarloaf Mountain. This mirrors the return of HBO's House of the Dragon for Season 2, which featured a giant dragon replica, Vhagar, perched atop the Empire State Building, capturing the imagination of New Yorkers.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 4 then took London by storm when a black-and-gray scarf, belonging to the character Gru, was wrapped around Tower Bridge. This eye-catching display garnered much attention from passersby.

Studios are elevating their marketing strategies beyond traditional posters, opting for stunts that create social media buzz and reach wider audiences. Both campaigns utilized CGI effects to make their displays appear realistic on video, enhancing their impact and engagement.

Olympic Fun: Minions Join Paris 2024

In a playful collaboration that blends humour with athletic prowess, the beloved Minions have teamed up with top Olympians in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Featured alongside track & field stars like Noah Lyles, Ryan Crouser, and Anna Hall, the Minions disrupt training sessions in a spirited promo for NBCUniversal's coverage of the Games and the upcoming release of Despicable Me 4.

Set to the energetic beats of House of Pain's "Jump Around," each athlete finds their practice interrupted by the mischievous Minions, whose antics fill the stadium with infectious chaos and laughter. Despite their comical disruptions, the Minions infuse a sense of joy into the rigorous preparations, demonstrating that moments of levity can be as vital as focused training.

This collaboration not only celebrates the excitement of the upcoming Olympic Games but also previews the humour and entertainment awaiting audiences in the latest installment of the iconic Despicable Me series.

As Illumination gears up for the highly anticipated release of "Despicable Me 4" on July 3rd, 2024, their innovative marketing campaigns are already making waves. From viral memes featuring NBA star Nikola Jokić to a star-studded collaboration with BTS and playful partnerships with LEGO, Roblox, and Volkswagen, the studio is pulling out all the stops to captivate global audiences. As the Minions prepare to unleash their mayhem once again, stay tuned for more updates and surprises leading up to the big day, ensuring this summer's blockbuster is nothing short of spectacular!

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