The epic Star Wars saga continues. After a decade long hiatus, Hollywood director J.J. Abrams is giving new life to the Sci-Fi classic with "The Force Awakens". Fans are eagerly anticipating the new movie - and so are brands using the popularity of the franchise for their marketing campaigns. We already saw how much buzz there was for Star Wars Day in May and how brands made use of it, so now it's time to see if they are putting the same effort into the attention surrounding the new Star Wars movie. Using Talkwalker social media analytics, we dug into the data to find out which campaigns would find Master Yoda's approval.
Building on the Buzz
Share of Voice of "Star Wars" overall and "The Force Awakens" between Nov 15 and Dec 14
Between early November and early December, the search term "Star Wars" yielded more than six millions results. So it's no surprise that brands across all industries jumped on the bandwagon - from makeup to breakfast cereal. By looking at spikes in mentions, brands can also improve the timing of their campaigns as we'll see a little later on. But first, the top brands.
The Force is With Disney
Star Wars and The Force Awakens theme cloud between Nov 15 and Dec 14
Talkwalker's Smart Themes show that while Disney - the new movie's production company - unsurprisingly tops the list of brands mentioned alongside Star Wars, there are plenty of other brands that are leveraging from the buzz around the Empire and its enemies to promote their own products. Toy companies Hasbro, Tech Giants like Apple and Microsoft and major U.S. telecom providers are just some of the names at the very top of the list. Toy manufacturer Hasbro for example received positive feedback for its dedication to addressing the female Star Wars audience with its action figures.
Yoda Says: Involve Influencers You Should
Top mentions for Verizon's Star Wars campaigns
Verizon customers had the chance to grab a pair of themed Google Cardboard viewers, which enable users to experience several virtual reality missions on their phone with the matching app. Fans loved the idea, and Verizon's post received thousands of likes and shares.
The telecom operator also involved influencers popular among science fiction fans in its Star Wars campaigns. Actor George Takei shared the brand's #TheoryWars, which asked fans to share the most interesting fan theories about what will happen during The Force Awakens. With thousands of likes and hundreds of shares for his post, Takei managed to drive lots of visitors to Verizon's promo website.
Despite the seeming disconnect between the Star Trek star promoting Star Wars campaigns, fans were happy to join in the conversations, showing that a broad common interest like Sci-Fi can be enough of a common ground for successful influencer campaigns. And, as always, humor is always a good way to drive engagement, particularly if you're famous!
Yoda Says: Brand Your Products You Must - But at the Right Time, Release Them
From Jedi outfits to Star Wars cups, even Christmas decorations... nothing is safe from becoming part of the Empire. In order to stand out from the masses, brands need to come up with clever product ideas and market them well.
Car manufacturer Fiat managed to do just that by premiering a Fiat 500 Stormtrooper (left):
After its launch, Fiat posted some pictures of the Star Wars-themed car on its Facebook page, which gathered a total of more than 6,000 likes and 1,700 shares within days of posting. Not to be outdone, Dodge posted an album of their own Star Wars-themed sports cars (right), which gained almost 50,000 likes and more than 7,600 shares. Dodge's higher levels of engagement may indicate that they benefitted from delaying their post to match peak Star Wars buzz in mid-December.
While Dodge's claim that the Dodge Viper is Darth Vader may be pushing it a little far, both brands did manage to use the buzz around Star Wars to increase their own visibility with interesting products and well timed reveals that gathered attention across different online platforms.
Master Yoda's Marketing Lessons
Master Yoda's lessons in short:
Adapt your products - but do it in a way that stands out from the masses
Time your event-related releases right - launching too soon means missing out on peak buzz
Involve influencers - and don't be too narrow when selecting them
And of course, don't forget to track "The Force" of your campaign with social listening!