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How the Disney empire rallied brands for yet another Star Wars with The Last Jedi

Some of the Star Wars creative

Disney has once again attracted top commercial partners to create content and experiences around the Star Wars franchise, which is now three years into its reawakening following its $4.05bn acqusition of Lucasfilm in 2012.

To offset the high costs of production and to recoup the initial investment. For The Last Jedi, Disney has embraced five major commercial partners, a recurring pattern that was also in place for the Force Awakens and Rogue One.

The multimedia giant has just snapped up rival Fox, and building on this momentum looks set to crank out Star Wars movies indefinitely with countless spin-offs and at least one new trilogy in the works. As the property reaches saturation point, commercial partners, have their hands full keeping their work fresh to ensue recurring ROI.

GlobalWebIndex provided insight into the valuable and sizable Star Wars audience. It polled 89,029 internet users across 40 markets. It was no surprise that the core audience remains younger men although 37% of fans are female and half the viewers are aged between 35-64. On the value of the audience, the research found that Wars fans are 37% more likely to have posted online about films in the past month and 58% regularly inform friends and family about new products and services.

Disney recently said it is going to ditch using lazy stereotypes in its movies and advertising, this mindset may have shaped the campaigns you see before you.

Duracell

Duracell looked to “communicate the superiority of Duracell” with its Star Wars tie-in. It perhaps unsurprisingly looked to position itself as the battery of Christmas toys - a move which could greatly benefit it.

The brand has been attached to the Star Wars bandwagon since the release of the Force Awakens, at least hinting that the partnership delivers worthwhile ROI.

Nissan

Nissan also chose to continue its Star Wars partnership, having reaped the benefits of releasing a new car line in sync with the launch of Rogue One in 2016. The car was called the Rogue and there was a 300% ROI on its work, a reported success story in the space.

This year the brand is heralding its cars advanced AI systems by integrating with the sci-fi world of Star Wars.

It also launched a new car line to better activate on its sponsorship, the Altima was themed after the Tie Fighter, the dog-fighting space craft of the antagonistic Empire.

General Mills

Food giant General Mills launched a promotion that granted it prominence in the official Star Wars app. It allowed users to scan their face into the phone and learn whether they are on the dark or light side.

On top of this, specially marked boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, Cookie Crisp and Cinnamon Toast Crunch were packed with one of six color-changing Star Wars character spoons.

Verizon

Verizon was pushing its telecom offers by tying its tech into the Star Wars universe.

It produced a spot to remind viewers how important it is to have reliable Wi-Fi - the spot introduced new droids into the mix. It ran with the tagline 'Make the jump to light speed'.

Philips

Philips designed a new set of electric razors. This was not entirely dissimilar to the work Gillette does in the movie space - it is currently tied up with DC's the Justice League. It is worth noting that Gillette ran ads in conjunction with Rogue One in 2016.

Combating this, Philips has released five new special edition Star Wars inspired shavers. It will hope to build up equity against its rival.

Philips ran some shave-centric slots around the work to publicise the partnership, equating a clean shave with the precision of a dogfight in space.

Vizio

Electronics company Vizio used its Star Wars partnership to tout the immersion of its TVs. It showed a young girl roleplay as protagonist Rey in the middle of her living room as the new movie played out.

​Christian Louboutin

Elite fashion brand Christian Louboutin partnered with the sci-fi property to deliver heels inspired by iconic characters.

It was one of the more alluring activations to come from Star Wars this year. On the shoes themselves, Louboutin said: "They are not shoes to be worn, and I don’t have to think about the heels being too high or the point being too pointy. It’s great to have no limits on your work.”

On these tie ups, Lylle Breier, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships at Walt Disney Studios, said: "Our promotional partners have come up with some very exciting, imaginative campaigns to support ‘The Last Jedi,’ and we can’t wait to share them with fans."

It comes after director Rian Johnson, earlier this year urged fans of the series to dodge any of the movie’s trailers and marketing in order to avoid spoilers. Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill echoed this sentiment, a call that could risk displeasing commercial partners who have heavily invested in being associated with the franchise.

Some of the smaller partnerships in particular have been branded as absurd. Variety did a good job tracking some of the more befuddling activity.

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