We’re watching the Star Wars marketing machine roll out the release of its new movie, JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens, on December 18. My 5 year old son has asked Santa for a handful of toys which will be my contribution to the franchise. It’s my guess that the grandparents will pile onto this. As a marketer, I’m experiencing the movie promotion with judgment and awe. Big brands have been known to crowdsource from creative talent pools or their consumers, but Star Wars has raised the bar. It is crowdsourcing its marketing from other big brands.
Last week the WSJ shared how Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co., challenged his marketing team’s spend and strategy. The result was ingenious crowdsourcing for the launch promotion. Last night, the football TV spots from almost every big brand touted their creativity around the Star Wars theme. It reminded me of what these big brands do for SuperBowl, only this time for another mega-entertainment brand.
Says the WSJ, “While Disney isn’t setting spending records, others promoting “Star Wars” are. Companies eager to appeal to fans of lightsabers and X-wing fighters spent about $38 million on “Force Awakens”-related TV ads in the U.S. through Monday, according to iSpot. That is a record for “co-branded” ads on a movie, the research firm said, exceeding the prior high of $26.5 million set by July’s “Minions.””
But too much of a good thing can turn bad. Consumers are catching on this and may grow tired with this media saturation. I imagine the Star Wars marketing team had plenty of debate around who to grant licenses to and how to guide commercial promotions. In the end, no single brand can hurt this well-defined mega-brand.
Some brands are doing a bang-up job with their creativity. When their creative agencies got the brief, it must have been happy days. Finally something different on the account for the creative department. I’d like to see AdAge or some marketing association poll the best cobranded execution of Star Wars, it will be fun.
The Star Wars marketing strategy shows us what big brands can do. It is a terrific example of how placing budgetary constraints and releasing control can unleash creative collaboration. I challenge more CEO’s and CMO’s to do this. Remember, you too, have the Force.
@smunthree | The Union Marketing Group | www.theunionmarketing.com
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