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Jan 15, 2018

Brands drawn to the dark side

by Becky Reid - Account Director

Brands drawn to the dark side

Brands partnering with a Star Wars film is not a new concept. But in 1977 when the first film - A New Hope - was released, Wall’s sausages and Shreddies were pioneers to team up with the now famous franchise. Action transfers were quite the thing!

Since then, the number and type of brands associating themselves with Star Wars has increased dramatically, as has the complexity of the promotions these brands create.

Over the years, shoppers have had the opportunity to collect Tazos, drinks cups and Pez dispensers; eat Star Wars character shaped cereal, biscuits and macaroni and cheese; wear Star Wars themed make up and shoes, as well as fly in a Star Wars emblazoned airliner! You now even have the opportunity to download an app on your mobile phone, scan your face and learn whether you are on the ‘Dark’ or ‘Light’ side!

As a marketer, I have always been taught that brand partnerships excel when a consumer can draw a clear line from the product to the brand. Where the partnership reinforces the brand's core values and associates with the brand's positioning and strategy. Whilst I don’t disagree that this remains true for the majority of successful partnerships, it seems that Star Wars is the anomaly and, especially in recent years, short-term tactical activity led by nostalgia and ‘hype’ has taken over.

An example of this is Dole, a fruit and vegetable supplier, who some may argue does not have an obvious link with Star Wars. Though who is to argue when their stance is to ‘unite for a healthy galaxy’ and they encourage their consumers to ‘fuel your body for Jedi training by making healthy choices in eating and living’. If the promotion inspires even just a few extra people to eat more fruit and vegetables each day then surely it is a job (and partnership) well done!

So in a market obsessed with Star Wars, how do these brands stand out and make sure their message breaks through? Seemingly they don’t need to. Star Wars has become a cult and anything associated with it is accepted and loved.

A phenomenon that I imagine other film studios look at and can only dream of achieving. And as a marketer it is interesting to witness!

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