Star Wars changed the film marketing forever. Before this
movie, instead of harnessing merchandising power and pre-existing fan bases,
movies existed on their own creative merit, looking strictly to the box office
to make the big bucks. But in 1978, everything changed when a marketing
juggernaut was born. For their branding, they have been leveraging everything
from burgers to vacations.
In its starting days, Star Wars was co-promoted with Burger
King through commercials and merchandising. The toys included many main
characters including those from the infamous Cantina scene. When the second
instalment was released, the company, Kenner, to which the toy merchandising
rights were sold to, used direct mail marketing to promote the toys.
Shortly in a while, Star Wars becomes an amusement park
attraction, debuting in Disneyland and now operating in Disneyland Paris after
its close in America in 2010. As the first week Star Wars TV series “The Clone
Wars” started running, the animated kids’ show came into light to this day on
Cartoon Network, maintaining viewership from younger audiences.
Continuing with the branding strategies, in 2011, Volkswagen
released its first in a series of Star Wars-themed commercials, called “Force”,
which was intended to be released as a Super Bowl Ad. In 2012, Disney acquired
Lucasfilm Ltd. This acquisition put the branding power of Disney behind the
Star Wars franchise, opening opportunities for TV shows, merchandising and
theme park concepts. Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm released a digital
collection of the first six movies in 2015, remastered in high definition,
through Amazon and iTunes in April. Co-branded promotions for The Force Awakens
included TV commercials for Kohl’s Black Friday sales and Verizon.
The customer target were Star Wars fans from 4 to 94 years
old. An interactive website was unveiled as a tribute to Star Wars fans. In
addition to the website, an in-store space called “Shop the Force” was opened where
licensed Star Wars gear and merchandise are sold.
Disney has been ramping up its marketing efforts for the Star
Wars brand. Through an integrated brand strategy and global partnerships,
Disney created a multi-dimensional promotional platform for Star Wars. Disney
is featuring the Star Wars brand through many different mediums such as
merchandise, films, and digital platforms.
The branding of Star Wars has many aspects to it. Some of
them are –
Simplicity – The central premise of the Star Wars
films is simple: good Vs evil, and they stick to it as their recipe for
success. George Lucas believed to keep the brand strategy understandable and
simple and don’t over-complicate it
the brand strong – Star Wars being a strong brand with prequels and sequels,
there is a strong enough central brand strategy, which can allow them to
deviate from the main campaign, targeting different markets effectively with
their own unique proposition.