Screenshot via video below.
I'm a white male, aged 18-to-49, so naturally I'm a huge Star Wars fan. You can tell I'm a Star Wars fan because even in the midst of the deafening din of Star Wars hype, the saturation of Star Wars ads, the cruelty of endless Star Wars teasers, the mercenary glut of Star Wars merchandise, and everything else Star Wars-related going on, I'm still super-excited about the whole thing.
Which is why I was so happy to learn what Google has been up to:
A more cynical person might think that Google is just jumping on the Star Wars bandwagon, or might wonder what sort of brand-synergy backroom deals were made between Google and Disney, and that's all probably true to some extent, but you know what?
As explained by Clay Bavor, VP of Product Management, Google is planning a whole slew of Star Wars ideas for the upcoming film release, from fitting Star Wars into Google Search, to a virtual tour of the Millennium Falcon, to easter eggs, and more. My favorite though, is the Awaken the Force Within site, that allows you to sign into your Google account and choose between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force.
Pick one, and, according to Bavor, you can "watch your favorite Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and many more transform to reflect your path." Your Gmail loading bar becomes a light saber, your location icon on Google maps becomes a TIE Fighter or X-Wing. Sure, for Google this is just a clever way to get people to use their apps and associate themselves with one of the most-hyped media events in history, but I don't think you understand, I get to choose between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force!
They even have a live counter at the bottom of the Star Wars page displaying a live measure how may have chosen Dark vs. Light. In case you were a marketer wondering how to do synergy and branding this is it. Yes, it helps to be Google and Star Wars, but what is going on here, which seems so rare in other marketed properties, is a sense of real fun.
It's exciting to pick a side, to see all the little changes Google's made, to find the hidden easter eggs, because it's exciting for Google too. This isn't a billboard, or "influencer marketing" or the kind of corporate speak that turns off audiences. I don't even mind that I'm basically being sold multiple products at the same time by Google and Disney because my enthusiasm for the product, along with Google's genuinely clever branding and obvious fellow-enthusiasm has got me hooked.
Plus I think Rey's staff is totally gonna turn out to be a double-bladed saber.