Should Your Company Jump On the “Star Wars” Marketing Bandwagon?

Like TIE fighters hovering around the Death Star, a lot of brands have been using the Star Wars universe and excitement over the upcoming new movie The Force Awakens to put customers in a Darth Vader-like chokehold with their marketing.

But is this a good idea? With so many brands using this tactic and jumping on the Star Wars bandwagon, is it an effective form of marketing? Or have marketers just been lured to the dark side? We’ll attempt to answer those questions for you today by taking a look at a trio of different efforts from some big brand names.

3 Brands Banking on “Star Wars” to Connect with Customers

Here are a few examples of brands that have tapped into the Star Wars universe with their marketing…

1. Kraft

Kraft is one of many brands to create limited-edition products tied to Star Wars. In this case, it’s Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with noodles in different Star Wars shapes and collectible boxes featuring characters like Darth Vader, Yoda, and R2-D2.

Star Wars Mac & Cheese

On the marketing end, Kraft is having some fun promoting these collectibles with commercials poking nostalgic fun at Star Wars collectors, and the way different generations view the galaxy far, far away. Kraft also claims it shows the “largest Star Wars collection ever depicted on screen in a TV commercial”.

2. Covergirl

One of the most surprising Star Wars brand tie-ins comes from Covergirl. It’s an interesting concept—blowing away preconceptions of Star Wars fans as a male-only club (this is, after all, one of the most universally beloved movie franchises of all time).

Covergirl Star Wars products

The Covergirl Star Wars Makeup Collection features different lipstick, nail polish and mascara styles available in both “light side” and “dark side” versions. And to help market the products, Covergirl came up with six different dramatic Star Wars looks that they posted on the company’s Tumblr.

Star Wars Makeup Looks

3. Target

If you’ve been inside a Target store in the past month you’ve probably noticed the wall-to-wall Star Wars products. From toys to posters to mugs to t-shirts, the shelves are loaded with more tie-ins than a thousand Wookies could carry.

Target Share the Force

To help promote the Star Wars merchandise extravaganza and stir the pot of fan excitement, Target created SharetheForce.com, an interactive experience where fans can share their Star Wars memories. An indirect but highly effective marketing effort, the website is a pretty awesome assembly—allowing you to search through a ton of fan pics and videos by your favorite character.

Should Your Brand Get In On the “Star Wars” Marketing Action?

Now that you’ve seen some of the creative things major brands have done to incorporate Star Wars in their marketing, we circle back to the question: Is this a good idea? Is it smart marketing for a brand to tie itself to another brand—especially when a ton of other companies are doing it at the exact same time?

The surprising answer is “yes”. Go ahead and jump on the Star Wars bandwagon. Here are a few reasons why…

  • The force connecting Star Wars with almost all demographics is just too powerful to deny. Star Wars marketing may be overdone, but it works. There’s enough interest and goodwill to go around as somehow audiences have not reached the Star Wars oversaturation point just yet.
  • This movie is going to big—REAL BIG—and people are going to be talking about it for months. While we typically believe in marketing that is more thematic, original and resonant, there’s real opportunity for engaging customers and having some fun using Star Wars as a springboard.
  • Now is the moment when the Star Wars frenzy is at a fever pitch. With a decade-long gap since the last Star Wars movie, dismay over the previous trilogy, and great hope for the revival of the franchise, fan excitement may never reach this level again. It will certainly wane with subsequent films (and Disney has quite a few planned).

The one big caveat here is this…

With so many different brands tapping into the Star Wars universe with their marketing, you need to be extra creative in your execution. This is a time when cleverness (which typically should take a back seat to messaging) really pays off.

Find a fun, creative way to meld your brand and Star Wars together and you’ll grab some eyeballs, up your engagement, and invest your marketing (at least temporarily) with Jedi-like powers.

For more on this topic, listen to our recent Star Wars marketing podcast: