As you may have heard — let’s face it, you’ve heard about it unless you were in a coma — a new Star Wars movie dropped late last year. The Force Awakens spawned products from cereal with pictures of Yoda and Darth Vader emblazoned on the box to shower heads and even Pop Chips. With unprecedented merchandising, according to Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times film business reporter, it’s a fair question to ask, “Just how effective was it?”
Forcing the Force on the American Public
Miller weighed in on the sheer diversity of the branded products. “I came across Campbell’s soup that was branded with a Star Wars character,” he said. “I came across a Pottery Barn bed that was selling for $4 thousand that looked like the Millennium Falcon.”
A furniture shopper who’s also a Star Wars enthusiast with deep pockets has many options. That person may purchase a bed shaped like Han Solo’s spaceship just because it’s Star Wars branded. Can the same be said for someone who legitimately loves condensed chicken noodle soup? Maybe. Co-founder of the Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, New York , Brian Smith befriended Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, and has churned out Star Wars ice cream. “The first week of selling Star Wars, we sold as many pints online as we had sold online in the year previous,” Smith said.
Brand Loyalty and Your Business
Great packaging and pictures of superheroes or science fiction characters have long been used to attract customers. It’s likely that you aren’t bizarrely connected with a Disney exec who can give you Star Wars licensing. However, you can provide the best quality product in your field, and get the word out about it.
Your online marketing efforts should hit your intended audience with the appropriate message, and your audience should be able to easily find you. While General Mills has the luxury of broad distribution and great shelf placement, your small- or medium-sized business has the distinct advantage of using search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and social media. Your customers will be just as likely to return if they have a great experience both online and in person as they are to catch the next installment of the Star Wars saga in 2017. (Although expecting a $37 billion revenue may be a tad unrealistic.)
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