Star Wars: A Marketing JuggernautDecember 18, 2015
By Alex Stahlmann,
A long time ago, in a galaxy — well, this galaxy — there lived a young Star Wars fan… me. I can’t remember when I first saw the original trilogy, nor can I remember a period in without Star Wars – it’s been a constant. As a youth, I collected Star Wars action figures and Micro Machines, I had Star Wars bed sheets, and I watched the movies more times than I can count. Needless to say, years later, when “The Force Awakens” was announced, I was stoked.
I’ve never been one to catch a movie on opening night, but this time around, I made a point of it. As show time approached, my excitement rose. Even though I’m a hater of lines, I wanted nothing more to be queued up and inside the theater. I’d love to discuss the movie itself, but I’m not going to divulge any spoilers to here on the Peepshow. Okay, just one (maybe two): The movie is dope and the nostalgia factor runs high.
Beyond the merits of the movie, or even the Star Wars franchise in general, I feel we must give a nod to the massive marketing campaign behind the whole thing. Disney has knocked this one out of the park, and we’re all experiencing a perfect storm of Star Wars marketing madness firsthand.
First, it’s been about 10 years since “Revenge of the Sith,” so fans were ready for a new installment. Second, “fans” is a pretty broad term in this situation. Star Wars doesn’t have to narrow in on any particular target audience – it caters to boomers, millennials and Generation Z – guys and gals alike. [Ed.: More like Millennium-als, am I right, guys?] Third, the movie is out at Christmas — the busiest spending season of the entire year. Fourth, “The Force Awakens” is the first installment in another three-part trilogy — we’re all on the hook for two more movies.
Furthermore, Star Wars merchandising is next-level. I don’t care who you are or where you live, you’ve known about this movie for months. If you didn’t catch wind from the theatrical previews, the Monday Night Football exclusive TV spot, your Instagram feed or your news outlet of choice, you’ve been made aware via Star Wars makeup, or maybe even Star Wars meat.
The only thing that could tear down Disney’s newest cash cow would be for “The Force Awakens” to have been a flop. I can tell you firsthand, this isn’t the case. Kudos, Disney. May the force continue to be with you, and please, continue to shower upon me your endless array of Star Wars-related material – additional theatrical offshoots, inflatable Darth Vaders, remote control droids, whatever – I love it all.