‘Black Panther’ sequel inspires Sprite, Lexus to champion women warriors

    • Sprite and Lexus are running tie-in campaigns around “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the anticipated sequel to the 2018 Marvel Studios blockbuster, per separate news releases
    • For its first collaboration with the franchise, the soft drink brand embedded QR codes on Sprite Zero Sugar products that access a “Hall of Zero Limits” augmented reality (AR) experience when scanned. A new TV spot, special packaging and a look at the Black and Hispanic women behind “Black Panther” also factor into the effort.  
    • Lexus, returning for its third Marvel tie-up, is using the release to promote its first battery electric vehicle, which features in a long-form spot with the film’s Dora Milaje women warriors. Walton Isaacson, the automaker’s agency of record for Black, Hispanic and LGBT audiences, led the partnership. 

    Marvel Studios releases typically come paired with big brand partnerships, and the latest tie-ins around “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” carry a diversity and inclusion theme. The campaigns are rolling out ahead of the movie’s Nov. 11 release, where it’s expected to be one of the last blockbuster draws in a year that’s seen a revitalized box office. “Wakanda Forever” focuses on the leaders of Wakanda as they grapple with the death of King T’Challa, the prior Black Panther, with a spotlight on the fictional African nation’s all-female Dora Milaje royal guard.

    Sprite Zero Sugar, working with the franchise for the first time, is applying a mix of traditional media, packaging and mobile elements to latch onto consumer interest around the superhero installment. The “Hall of Zero Limits” experience unlocks exclusive behind-the-scenes videos profiling the multicultural women who helped bring the film to life. The content can be projected onto whatever environment the viewer is in using AR technology. 

    On YouTube, the marketer has also shared its Origin Stories series that interviews an array of creative talent, including sculptors, storyboard artists and production designers. Sprite honed in on Black and Hispanic experts who operate in career fields where they are underrepresented compared to their White peers. 

    Beyond the QR codes on Sprite Zero Sugar, the soda marketer is selling limited-edition bottles and cans that bear “Black Panther” iconography and attempt to capture the movie’s themes. A new spot shows a man reaching for a Sprite Zero Sugar in his fridge only to open a portal to Wakanda with a surprised Dora Milaje on the other end.  

    Lexus is similarly leaning into the larger presence of the Dora Milaje with a 90-second spot that pairs its first battery electric vehicle with members of the elite team. “An Electric Future,” which airs across broadcast, digital, advanced TV and social media, depicts General Okoye (Danai Gurira) and two other Dora Milaje as they outfox pursuers in the Lexus RZ 450e.

    The commercial was helmed by director Anthony Leonardi III, who’s led prior efforts between the automaker and Marvel Studios. The Lexus LC 500 Convertible and Lexus GX cameo in the actual film.


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