Marketing of the Force

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Recently the internet was abuzz with the release of the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The marketing for this latest Star Wars film appears to be mirroring the marketing strategy for last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Two movies in, I think Lucasfilm and their marketing partners have created a winning formula.

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In the build up to The Force Awakens, I devoured all the new footage and trailers I could get.  At a point, I had to force myself to stop watching for fear that I was seeing too much or I was going to end up getting spoiled.  Fast forward to the night of the premiere and I quickly realized how great the ads and marketing had been.  They gave us just enough to piece together some parts of the movie, get a feel for the film’s tone and style, and still leave so many surprises for us in the theater.  Of course, we are still feeling the after-effects of some of the film’s secrecy (I’m looking at you Hasbro, where is my Old Luke figure?)  But it’s a small price to pay for not having things spoiled in the marketing of the film.

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What really makes the Lucasfilm marketing stand out is when you compare it to other major franchises.  I can’t count the number of films I’ve seen trailers for that seem to give away the entire story and plot twists.  It was especially bad with this year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I don’t know if the hype and anticipation for this was as high as a Star Wars film, but it was certainly close to it.  However, sitting in the theater for the DC comics blockbuster I had a completely different response than I did with The Force Awakens.  Every scene in the movie felt familiar.  I quickly realized that the trailers and advertisements had shown me a piece of nearly every scene in the film.  The movie had almost nothing new to surprise me with.Star Wars has found a way to whet our appetite, teasing us with tiny morsels, while still holding back a considerable amount.  Whereas the other films simply lay out a sampler plate of everything the film has to offer.  A supercut of the Star Wars trailers gave us tone and atmosphere, but

Star Wars has found a way to whet our appetite, teasing us with tiny morsels, while still holding back a considerable amount.  Whereas the other films simply lay out a sampler plate of everything the film has to offer.  A supercut of the Star Wars trailers gave us tone and atmosphere, but very little actual plot, with the others you get a 15-minute version of the film.

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To date, we have gotten two full trailers and a behind the scenes reel for Rogue One.  Obviously, because this is a prequel to the original film Star Wars: A New Hope we know more about this one going in than we did with The Force Awakens.  However, I feel that each new piece of marketing gives us new questions, but very few answers.  Which is how it should be.  The marketing and advertisements should get me excited and interested in a film, not show me every piece of the story.  Hollywood could stand to learn a lot from Lucasfilm’s example.

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