It is a multi-billion dollar franchise and one of the most recognizable and loved brands around the world. The force is strong with Star Wars social media which has helped its popularity span generations with a new generation getting sucked into the black hole (sorry, wrong reference) this past Christmas with the release of The Force Awakens.
Star Wars seems built for the internet age, with amazing content and a rabid fan base. A lot of what the Star Wars brand has achieved can be replicated in smaller ways and can provide social media marketers with tons of inspiration. Emoji marketing, storytelling, video marketing, memes, you name it Star Wars has done it all.
Much like other recent films such as Deadpool, Disney focused on the internet and social media for much of the marketing of this film. The social media marketing of the film reached an astonishing 667 million people before the film was even out. Because of this the marketing spend was actually less than for other Disney blockbusters while being as (if not more) effective.
May The 4th
As social media marketers, we know it is important to stay relevant and create content for particular times of year. It can actually make our jobs easier rather than coming up with new content all the time from scratch.
#MayThe4th is also a great opportunity for brands to piggyback on the Star Wars empire and some go all out! All it takes is some creativity and a love of George Lucas’ world!
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) May 4, 2014
— Windows (@Windows) May 4, 2014
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) May 4, 2015
— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) May 4, 2015
— Amazon (@amazon) May 4, 2015
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) May 4, 2015
— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) May 4, 2015
— DCCC (@dccc) May 4, 2015
— albertaNDP (@albertaNDP) May 4, 2015
— Gibson (@gibsonguitar) May 4, 2015
— Pillsbury (@Pillsbury) May 4, 2015
Behind the scenes content, sneak peaks and product teasers are social media gold. In the lead up to The Force Awakens we were all schooled in how to do it right.
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) November 24, 2014
They teased fans over a year before the release date with 88 seconds of footage. This move garnered a record breaking 88 million views in the first 24 hours on Youtube.
— Star Wars (@starwars) April 19, 2015
A year is unheard of in Holywood but Star Wars is the exception to every rule. This was of course followed by the official trailer, a second trailer and countless TV spots aimed at driving the fan base crazy.
The trailer also gave fans a first look at Han Solo and Chewbacca with the now infamous “Chewie we’re home” line.
“The hashtag #Chewiewerehome was rapidly adopted by fans on Twitter while #StarWars was soon a top trending subject on the social media site as anticipation for the movie, due out on December 18, went into overdrive,” wrote Business Insider.
The trailers allowed the film’s marketers to crosspromote the multiple social media accounts including Instagram.
While the release of The Force Awakens was the main event, Disney made sure to strike while the iron was hot with #ForceFriday.
They created a highly anticipated event around the release of Star Wars merchandise, a full three and a half months before the film was to be released.
A midnight release, much like for a new iPhone or the Harry Potter books had fans lining around the block for Star Wars action figures, Lego and more!
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) September 4, 2015
Check out this infographic from Overdrive Interactive to see just how big #ForceFriday was.
Martin Brochstein, SVP industry relations and information with the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (basically an expert at this stuff) had this to say.
“This rollout is unique on several different levels. First of all, Disney has made the rollout of the consumer products into an event itself, almost separate from the film, by having the Force Friday promotion, with several retailers opening their doors at midnight, and the global streamed unboxing event on YouTube the day before. This is more akin to what would normally be done with a big film itself, or was done with the Harry Potter book launches, or with a new iPhone model.”
The app-controlled BB-8, the new droid star introduced by the movie, was especially a hit and makers
Sphero quickly capitalized, creating a mini-series of the droid’s adventures.
BB-8 and the Spiky Friend
BB-8 and the Leaves
Disney were ahead of the live streaming curve last year and made sure they provided a ton of video content, live streamed and otherwise, for their fans to chew on.
The live streaming of the unboxing event on #ForceFriday was just one example.
At events like Comic-Con and Star Wars Celebration, Disney streamed live on YouTube, giving fans unprecedented access to their fans.
In Disney’s Instagram push two of the film’s stars, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega used Instagram to share videos of their respective reactions to the trailer.
Force for Good
People now days expect brands and celebrities to be active philanthropically and it is always a hit on social media, whether it is global warming, disease or hunger eradication.
The Force for Change charity initiative was a collaboration between Disney, Lucasfilm and Bad Robot and raised millions of dollars for charities like UNICEF and more.
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 19, 2015
— Star Wars (@starwars) December 3, 2015
Disney and Lucasfilm partnered with Twitter to develop hashtag-generating emojis to promote The Force Awakens. Three emojis were designed for #C3PO, #Stormtrooper and #BB8.
Then, as the film’s release neared, Disney released emojis for Finn, Rey and Poe just to make sure that Star Wars would own the Twitter-verse.
— Star Wars (@starwars) April 16, 2015
— Star Wars (@starwars) September 2, 2015
— Star Wars (@starwars) October 18, 2015
— Star Wars (@starwars) December 4, 2015
Also there is an amazing telling of the film using emoji.
Create a Star Wars-like Content Plan
Outside all of the amazing partnerships and flashy emojis, Disney did a tremendous job at keeping their fan base engaged throughout the whole process of waiting for the films.
StarWars.com is any fan’s hub for new, up to date news and footage and the brand’s profile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were the site of almost daily reveals in the lead up to the various events.
Why could they be effective across so many channels? Great content! They also repurposed their content very well across their various channels.
On this May the Forth take a look at your existing content plan and social media editorial calendar and see whether you can’t beef it up a bit, be bold and be creative!
Let me know in the comment section you favorite Star Wars social media examples from this and previous years!