Posted on 14th December.
By in Content, Featured, Online Marketing

Star Wars is a powerful brand. So much so that Disney chief executive Robert Iger asked his marketing team how much they really needed to spend on the whole campaign, the thinking being that the brand carries itself. Regardless of how much has been spent, there is no denying the brand has caught on and spread through the advertising world like wildfire.

Newsjacking Star Wars has been a big thing in 2015 – with many brands pointing their Death Star superlasers at unsuspecting advertising budgets.

What is newsjacking?

Newsjacking, according to marketing and sales strategist David Meerman Scott, is the process of injecting your own ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.

Real-time newsjacking can work incredibly well. This worked with the famous Oreo ‘Power out? No problem‘ tweet which took advantage of a unique and unforeseen event to advertise their product during a Super Bowl blackout.

But newsjacking is also the art of taking a long-anticipated event and applying it to your product. Star Wars is such an event, below we’ve collated some of the most impressive brands with some of the least impressive – while this may be an opinion, hopefully the idea will be understood and shared.

Who are the best Star Wars newsjackers?

  • Duracell – the ‘Battle for Christmas Morning’ has attracted an impressive 14.3 million views, a number that continues to grow the closer we get to the big movie release. The video was published on 29 October and features two young Jedi powering up their lightsabers with Duracell batteries in order to fight an army of Stormtroopers. Very cool. Very well produced.

  • Campbell’s Soup – this soup company joined the campaign for promoting many types of families by having a toddler spoon-fed soup by his two dads. One says ‘I am your father’ in brilliant Darth Vader fashion, to which the other parent replies ‘No, no, no! I am your father!’. It’s heart-warming, just like soup. A brilliant ad.

  • Verizon – The American telecoms and broadband giant features the new Star Wars droid BB-8 and Chewbacca fighting Stormtroopers. The core message is that our two heroes would have an easier time fighting the Dark Side if the Death Star used a Verizon network. It feels a bit forced, but we love Chewbacca and it introduces the new droid, we’re sure R2-D2 would be proud.

  • Toys ‘R Us – The giant toy store have taking a story telling angle to the space franchise. While toys feature heavily throughout, they are not the focus as we watch the relationship between a Star Wars nut dad and his reticent daughter who takes a long time to catch the infectious love of the saga. In the end, in a Toys ‘R Us store, she discovers her passion for Star Wars (although apparently the Dark Side), and her dad delivers a brilliant Darth Vader quote. Watch it and enjoy, it’s worth it.

Who have not impressed with their newsjacking?

  • Dodge – The car company have gone for a Darth Vader procession. A black Dodge Vider (geddit?) leads hundreds of white Dodges to a hotel where the only quote has no relation to the franchise whatsoever. For people who love cars and Star Wars, it might appeal. Otherwise the message is wasted, and it’s newsjacking for the sake of newsjacking. More Sith than rebel alliance.

  • Jeep – Maybe car brands have difficulty newsjacking a movie franchise based on space stations in galaxies far far away. Jeep are such a car brand, their ad makes me want to watch Star Wars, rather than buy a Renegade. The purpose of the ad is to show that the car can drive anywhere, even to the top of a mountain. While it’s nice to see a Star Wars battle, I’d like to know more about the car than its quietness.

How to newsjack effectively?

There are several places to start. We use Year Ahead, a great resource for newsjackers, whether it’s International Women’s Day or International Speak Like A Pirate Day, eventually there will be 365 such days every year, choose a big one and apply it to your brand. Twitter trending topics change every day, unless it’s a very big event – in which case it may be your chance to jack the news. RSS feeds such as Feedly, or curation sites like Scoop.it, are good for seeing how a story is evolving – thus helping you fit your brand into the social media world.

Take Star Wars for example. The videos above show how brands can be visually appealing by giving the viewer a taste of their favourite space opera. But you don’t have to stop at TV adverts, like Oreo demonstrated with a single Tweet, there are many mediums to choose from. Star Wars, or any brand, can even be used to write about newsjacking. I’ll leave you with an image from NASA, who newsjacked a single day in May:

Image of Saturn's moon, NASA newsjacking

If you have any tips on newsjacking, or feel I’ve just used the Dark Side to promote a brand, please use the comments section below, and may the force be with you!