‘Star Wars’ Frenzy Means Risky Marketing
For “Star Wars” fans, Friday can’t come soon enough. That’s when “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens” debuts on movie screens. Until then, Walt Disney Studios and partner advertisers are taking chances on new marketing ideas.
Disney is revealing less than half as much of the film as it usually does in TV commercials, reports the Wall Street Journal. The studio is also spending less of its own money on ads and allowing partners to help a lot more than usual, reads the Dec. 8 WSJ article.
“Disney declined to say how much it would spend on direct marketing for ‘The Force Awakens,’ but the people familiar with the company’s plans say the outlay will end up being slightly lower than what studios typically put into would-be blockbusters,” reports Ben Fritz.
Granted, the nearly 40-year-old franchise has such devoted fans that ads have been more about “reassuring audiences” that the film will remain true to the original trilogy’s spirit than an effort to get them into theaters. Presale tickets attest to fans’ excitement about the movie, Fritz writes.
Normally, he says, Disney would spend more than $100 million marketing blockbusters.
“The placement of the official ‘Force Awakens’ trailer and the co-branded spots adds up to around $66.3 million in national TV inventory,” Ad Age writes on Thursday.
According to iSpot.tv, which both the WSJ and Ad Age cite for the statistics, the official trailer isn’t even in the No. 1 spending slot. At 5 p.m. on Friday, the trailer ranked No. 14 and had had less than 1,200 national airings.
“If the ‘Force Awakens’ promo spend falls short of the efforts made for some of the summer popcorn movies, the studio more than made up for the seeming shortfall by aligning the ‘Star Wars’ universe with every brand under the twin suns of Tatooine,” writes Ad Age. “Among the purveyors of packaged foods, fast-food restaurants and auto manufacturers that have hopped on the ‘Force Awaken[s]’ bandwagon are Campbell's, Kraft, GoGurt, General Mills, Subway, Dodge and Ram Trucks. Verizon has been running an elaborate ad starring Chewbacca and BB-8. Also in the mix is CoverGirl."
As anyone who knows a “Star Wars” fan is quite aware, the word is getting out in many more ways. On Facebook alone, the “Star Wars” page has more than 15 million likes and a noon Friday post that showed a GIF and a reminder to preorder tickets already had 98,000 views at 5 p.m.
Organic Facebook posts are never-ending and fans already know about the trick to get Google search results to scroll like the film’s opening credits.
So this Dec. 8 headline from Fortune is no surprise: “Disney's 'Star Wars' Practically Markets Itself.”
What do marketers think of this? Is there any product or service that markets itself completely?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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