If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan.
I’ve still got some of the original toys in my mum’s house (sorry, mum).
And as millions of fans prepare themselves for weeks of gorging on the franchise in the wake of The Last Jedi being released, it got me thinking about the greatest science fiction series being released.
I’m a little biased when it comes to a galaxy far, far away.
Barely a day goes by when I don’t reference Han Solo, stare adoringly at the R2-D2 and Vader toys that adorn my workspace or put on the Wookiee mask which sits on my colleague’s desk.
My tickets are booked for Episode XIII and no doubt I’ll be watching Episode XII before then too. It’s become something of an obsession. I’m writing this knowing I have a pair of Star Wars socks on, that’s no coincidence.
Like many shows in popular culture, we can learn a lot from Luke, Leia, the Stormtroopers and the Galactic Alliance. In a recent blog, I wrote about the marketing lessons we can learn from Game of Thrones so it only seems right to embrace the Force.
The power of video
We are living in the age of video content; more and more people are using this media as part of their content plan and Star Wars knows this. OK, so they are not the first franchise to tap into the YouTube generation but you have to have been living on the Ice Planet Hoth not to have seen the teasers, the trailers, the fan-made videos, creating engaging content and hooking people in.
One of the criticisms of The Force Awakens was that it was just a rehash of A New Hope, the blockbuster which launched the Star Wars phenomenon 40 years ago. In essence, it was, but what a rehash! It was done with such style and so much advanced technology which wasn’t available 40 years ago that most fans – including me – didn’t care. Therein lies the lesson, repurpose that content, but do it so well that people won’t either notice or care.
The Force Awakens had a very aggressive content marketing strategy which worked and made it the most successful Star Wars episode in the franchise. By all accounts, The Last Jedi will do the same, by embracing all platforms and engaging with a new demographic. Targeting the new fans but not forgetting the older ones (like me).
Between 1999 and 2005 fans were “treated” to the first three prequels of the Star Wars franchise which were, in a word, poor. When Disney bought Lucasfilm out for £4bn in 2012 many feared it would result in Mickey Mouse ears on characters and Elsa and Anna becoming cameo princesses on a new kingdom planet. Thankfully, this never materialised and the world’s biggest entertainment brand made it better, bringing in a new generation of fans.
Creating an unforgettable story
The Star Wars synopsis is pretty simple; it’s good against evil. But ever since my first family outing to the cinema when I was knee high to an Ewok, it’s an experience I will never – and have never forgotten. Such is the genius of George Lucas, he’s created a story which has not only spanned far off galaxies, but generations. My four-year-old already has a love for Chewbacca and is aware of some of the cuter characters and plans for a Star Wars marathon will happen someday soon. By creating this, Lucas has guaranteed content for years to come.
May the Force be with you, always.