Forget billboards or magazine ads. If an advertiser wants to put its brand in front of a big audience today, you may as well slap that ad on an Amazon shipping box. Or, at least, that's the mindset behind the new partnership between Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment and Amazon. The retailer has begun to ship customer orders in bright yellow delivery boxes featuring cartoon characters from the upcoming "Minions" movie. The deal represents the first time Amazon has ever allowed a third party to completely brand its delivery boxes, the company tells us. The pairing between the movie makers and Amazon makes sense for this latest installment in the "Despicable Me" franchise of films. The popular movies, which to date have grossed over $1.5 billion at the box office worldwide, have already turned the film's characters into merchandise. The "minions" have been translated into a ton of consumer products, including dolls and figurines, board games and video games, and other toys. They also grace clothing, including socks, shoes, hats and other accessories, as well as products for the home like bed sheets, curtains, kitchen items, wall decals, and even consumer packaged goods like Mott's applesauce and juice, for example. And of course, Amazon sells it all. Like a traditional print ad, the new Amazon boxes help promote the movie not only by raising awareness about the brand itself, but by noting the date the movie arrives in theaters (July 10). The boxes point also to a special Amazon URL. As it turns out, that website, amazon.com/minions, is a dedicated shopping site for all things "minions." Amazon says more content will be added to the site as the film's opening date approaches. Amazon also tells us the boxes will ship from "select" fulfillment centers, and will come in a range of sizes to accommodate a variety of customer orders for things like books, electronics, DVDs, toys, sporting goods and more. Different minions will grace the different sizes of boxes - Stuart is on large boxes, Bob on medium ones, and Kevin is on the smallest. The partners first teased the boxes by way of tweets and Facebook posts at the end of May, noting that the minions would be arriving on customers' doorsteps "soon." From the looks of things on social media, many customers have begun seeing these boxes arrive over the past several days. (Update: we understand the boxes began shipping on May 25th and will continue until July 10th.) For the most part (well, except for this guy), early consumer response to the marketing campaign appears to be positive. Several people even tweeted that they were planning to order from Amazon just to get one of the boxes, if you can believe that. Details of the deal were first reported by The LA Times. Amazon declined to say whether this partnership means we'll see other custom-branded boxes arriving in the future or how many customers will receive these yellow boxes during the promotional period. However, we understand the company would be open to similar marketing campaigns going forward. As a UPS employee I see hundreds of these boxes a day now and it makes me smile! Haha! Thanks @amazon & @Minions !!! pic.twitter.com/wabFTyUwc8 — Crazymiller (@CrazyMillerGame) June 2, 2015 Just ordered a couple of kids books from #Amazon and they came in this fun yellow minions box! #MinionsBoxes pic.twitter.com/vTgZwsGNpl — Sarah Bachtold (@sarahbachtold) June 1, 2015 @CinCinBear Well it's official, Minions have taken over Amazon. They're everywhere now. pic.twitter.com/zHqcCGWGTp — Emerson (@emerson123567) May 30, 2015 Our @amazon order arrived today. #BrilliantMarketing @Minions, simply brilliant. #minions #marketing @UniversalPics pic.twitter.com/qauYkGCbbL — Angela Johnson (@4TheLoveOfFam) May 28, 2015 Image credit: Pantone, which has a Minions paint color.
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