With the new Star Wars movie coming out this week, it seems the whole world is waiting with baited breath. For the past many months, we have seen an endless onslaught of movie trailers, action figures, late-night talk show plugs and more. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is EVERYWHERE.
George Lucas’ 40-year franchise also seems to be finding its way into another place in a galaxy near and dear to us: our commercials.
There have been some really smart, clever and downright cool TV commercials using Star Wars to help market their products. But some of these Star Wars commercials seem to be more “forced” than actually using the Force. So, in honor of the movie’s imminent release, let’s talk about some of the best and worst uses of Star Wars within TV commercials.
My personal favorite is a TV spot from Hewlett-Packard that features everyone’s favorite astromech droid, R2-D2. A teenage boy cleverly fashions a look-alike droid to deliver a loving invite to a teenage girl. It pulls on the heartstrings a little bit but also has a fun sense of adventure.
Duracell also does a nice job. The TV commercial depicts the imagination of a young child armed with a toy light saber and Duracell battery.
Chrysler also produced a great series of TV commercials using Star Wars imagery. Each TV spot hits a different stylistic note and tackles the Star Wars world in a unique way.
Here’s a TV commercial that plays off of nostalgia and the idea of “the first time”:
The second commercial focuses on the escapism and boundlessness of owning a Jeep:
The final Chrysler TV spot that really nails it, is creative and personifies Star Wars in the real world:
Then there are the not so ingenious Star Wars commercials that attempt to leverage the Star Wars franchise. But, hey, for every Chewbacca, there is a Jar Jar Binks.
Cover Girl has to be the biggest transgressor. The brand itself seems kind of wrong for the target audience, but the way Star Wars is force fitted into a new line of cosmetics feels even more off. It was so bad, late night talk show host Stephen Colbert had to out it.
Kay Jewelers is another brand that doesn’t seem to immediately meld with the Star Wars universe. But that didn’t stop them from trying. The Kay commercial starts off with zero Star Wars imagery and then about halfway through, it starts hawking Star Wars jewelry charms. Really? Fine jewelry for Star Wars fans? I just don’t see it. Then again, Princess Leia definitely pulled off that fancy looking necklace at the end of Episode IV.
As a giant Star Wars fan, I am really happy to see the abundance of Star Wars marketing in circulation right now.
It may get annoying when someone kind of misses the mark (cough Cover Girl cough) but it makes me all the more excited to dive back into the Star Wars universe. And the more people that get dragged into it with me, the better. Hope to see you guys out there on December 18.
Merry Christmas and May the Force Be With You.
Rob Wolford is an award-winning art director and designer. He also is a huge Star Wars fan and half-Wookie.