May the Force Be with You and the Retail Industry

Just about everyone in the retail industry probably expects to see Star Wars merchandise like lunchboxes, toys, action figures, and t-shirts, but it may surprise some to know that even old-time board games are trying to get into the act. Does anyone really need a Star Wars edition of the board game “Sorry?”

The Adobe Digital Index (ADI) Market Research found that marketers could learn some valuable lessons from Disney, who launched their marketing campaign back on September 4th called “Force Friday.” Sales were only 15 percent below Cyber Monday and 46 percent below Black Friday sales, which are the biggest non-shopping days of the year. Force Friday also became a strong hashtag for the film’s release date and building social media interest.

Analyst Adam Lloyd says, “Disney’s success came from closely analyzing data about the Star Wars fan, understanding what they want, and building a campaign that stoked anticipation for the film. The products were not only a way to make money, but part of the marketing plan for the film.”

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Disney has always been thought of as masters of marketing. They are credited with inventing multichannel marketing by tying together theme parks, toys, film, and TV that created a world appealing to all the kids. It is widely believed that when Disney purchased Lucas Films to grab the rights to the Star Wars franchise, they built the most sophisticated marketing companies in the world.

Unfortunately, there is also a crass, commercial side of this multichannel retailing that emerges from all of this as tons of plastic junk will sit under Christmas trees in this country this year. But go international and the problem is nothing short of bizarre…with food getting the Star Wars treatment… How do Star Wars Chicken Hot Dogs with Built-In Ketchup sound?   But wait, that’s not all…

Have a look of these culinary delights found in a Hungarian supermarket well before the release of the movie:

  • Star Wars Foie Gras (Stuffed into a tube for your enjoyment)
  • Star Wars Flavored Water (In three fruity flavors)
  • Star Wars Multi-Fruit Soft Drink (With a surprise)
  • Star Wars Tattoo Book (With snack)
  • Star Wars Super Sweet Canned Corn (Huh?)
  • Star Wars Cereal (With free 3-D pencil toppers)
  • Star Wars Frozen Chicken Nuggets (Yummy)
  • Star Wars 1.5% Low-Fat Milk (In a box)

And what collection would not be complete without Star Wars PEZ Dispensers? You may have noticed that all these delicacies have something in common … they all have nothing to do with the movie.

May the force be with you!

 

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