‘Spider-Man’ Spins Web of Sony Products and Bing Searches

Photograph by Jamie Trueblood/Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

Actor Andrew Garfield plays Spider-Man, a superhero with a penchant for Sony products.

Spider-Man is spinning more than a web these days.

In the comic book superhero’s latest flick, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” cinema goers won’t find a single iPhone, even though it’s the most popular smartphone in the U.S., nor any of Apple’s other products. Instead, the movie depicts an alternate reality where Sony’s consumer electronics rule the day.

Throughout the film, which takes place in current day Manhattan, the protagonist uses a Sony Xperia smartphone, which runs Google Android, to make calls to his girlfriend, check voicemail, listen to a police-radio scanner and play a game shooting colored bubbles while lounging on a spider web. When Spider-Man hangs a thug from an overpass, a spectator records video with an Xperia phone. And when two students watch an online video of Spider-Man’s antics, they do so using a Sony Tablet S.

“Spider-Man” is one of the biggest examples of how Sony, which distributed the movie through a subsidiary, plans to use its media assets to promote its own electronics products. Even the bad guy uses a Sony Vaio laptop connected to a Sony monitor in his underground laboratory, while recording his experiments with a Sony Handycam camcorder.

“The real value for us is being able to reach an entire audience of entertainment enthusiasts who connect with these films, TV shows, music — whatever it may be — while ultimately bringing it back to the device,” Peter Farmer, a Sony Mobile marketing vice president, said in an e-mailed statement.

Sony’s phones stick out in the movie partly because of how nonexistent they are in the real world. Sony accounted for 0.7 percent of all mobile phones sold in the U.S. between March and May and 0.4 percent of smartphones, according to research firm ComScore.

Also making a curious cameo was Microsoft’s Bing, which was the search engine of choice for Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man). The character uses the website to look up information about his father and browse pictures of spiders. Microsoft arranged for the product placement with Sony, but Lisa Gurry, a senior director for Bing, declined through a spokeswoman to discuss financials, citing a company policy.

In the U.S., Bing was used for 15.4 percent of search queries in May, while Google had 66.7 percent, according to ComScore.

Hollywood always did love an underdog.

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