Today marks the opening day of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and even people living under a rock know it. Disney/Lucasfilm has unleashed an unprecedented marketing campaign that made the previous efforts to promote stories set in a galaxy far, far away look like child’s play. Yet, as the potential audience for these films has grown, social media and influencer marketing had to be part of the mix to ensure word of the new film reached the younger generations.
Of course, the Star Wars campaign has included traditional channels like television, print and consumer product advertising. But knowing that Millennials use Amazon Prime more than other generations and that, according to Forrester, 35 percent of younger viewers have cut the cable cord (or never got one in the first place), news of the Force Awakening would need to get to them through other means.
As a result, creative use of social media platforms and influencer marketing strategies have become part of the ways of the Force. From the Snapchat campaign to sell a BB-8 electronic toy through five key influencers that garnered 10 million views in the first 24 hours to the use of influencers in the gaming world to get reviews of the new Star Wars: Battlefront (story in the video below) beyond traditional social amplification from celebrities and stars from the film itself, influencer marketing has been a key part of targeted effort to get their message to audiences that are traditionally hard to reach.
Some brands that have gotten involved might surprise fans who saw the original series in the theater, when Star Wars was considered something purely for the geek set. As alistdaily previously noted, Covergirl introduced a Star Wars line but they also later added branded geofilters on Snapchat that became available when a Snapper was close to an Ulta store, which exclusively carried the product line.
Of course, some brands have unofficially used the Star Wars phenomenon to get some additional exposure through the use of the #StarWars and #ForceAwakens hashtags. While some of the efforts have had creative elements, most of have just capitalizing on the emotional connection fans have with the series.
— Kmart Deals (@KmartDeals) May 4, 2015
— American Tourister (@AmTourister) September 4, 2015
Simple plays on iconic lines from the films have been effective in connecting brands with the film phenomenon in a small way but when Jedi-loving influencers are involved, the results are all the more compelling because you have true fans adding to the Star Wars world in their own authentic way. Unsurprisingly, the engagement with this content is higher.
— AurELFian (@aureylian) December 15, 2015
While few brands can match the level of enthusiasm and name recognition of Star Wars, their marketing campaign leading up to the film’s release shows that a balanced approach is necessary to reach an audience that is scattered to various channels and crosses generations. By both embracing the specifics of social media platforms and working with influencers that can do a better job of producing content that has an authentic love of the brand, Star Wars is making sure the Force is with the audience for their film.
And since you need to see that trailer one more time (only 72 million views so far) before the film tonight, here you go: