By Barry Janoff
November 1, 2016: If you are a company looking to climb on a marketing bandwagon, it might as well be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The first standalone movie in the Lucasfilm franchise (owned by Disney Co. since 2012 via a $4 billion deal) is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 16, making it a vehicle with a built-in global audience of film-goers and, perhaps more important here, holiday shoppers.
In anticipation of the release, the film’s five lead marketing partners are in the process of unveiling their creative: Nissan, Gillette, Duracell, General Mills and Verizon.
Each of the companies were involved in marketing for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which to date has generated more than $2 billion worldwide at the box office.
Product and tie-ins are also hitting from the likes of Toys ‘R’ Us and What On Earth.
Gillette, the men’s grooming division of Procter & Gamble, this week launches a multi-platform global campaign "Every Story Has a Face," in collaboration with Lucasfilm.
According to Gillette, "As Rogue One features the story behind the brave rebels, Gillette’s story is about the power behind each and every guy’s face as he prepares for the challenges of the day. There is power in the look guys choose to craft because, when everything else is stripped away, the face is how each and every guy communicates his story."
Gillette has presented itself with a challenging campaign as it focuses on faces on both sides of the battle, considering that the faces inside the Stormtrooper helmets are rarely, if ever, seen.
The brand's campaign begins with a long-form spot "linking the stories of the unknown faces within the Star Wars universe with the underlying truth that every person’s face conveys their story through the look they choose to craft."
"It is incredibly exciting to work with such an iconic movie franchise that connects with our guys and celebrates the story behind each man’s face and chosen look," John Mang, vp-global for Gillette, said in a statement. "As the world’s leading male grooming brand, Gillette products ensure guys can craft their story in order to take on the journey ahead — no matter what challenges it may bring."
Gillette also unveiled a special-edition Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gift packs with a Star Wars package design and Gillette products.
Nissan last week unveiled its lead Rogue One TV spot, “Battle-Tested,” part of a multi-media effort to support the coming release of its 2017 Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition vehicle.
The car company called this its biggest campaign ever and the “most integrated across all promotional channels,” calling a “natural synergy” between its Rogue and the title of the movie.
"It’s not just marketing — we are blowing it away digitally, socially, every way," Jeremy Tucker, vp-marketing communications and media for Nissan North America, said during a media event in New York.
The campaign comes with a sweepstakes, running now through Nov. 27, offering a chance to win a trip to the El Capitan theater in Hollywood for opening night of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Details here.)
There also will be Rogue One-themed events at Nissan dealerships through the holidays, per Tucker.
The car itself (pictured above) was designed in conjunction with Lucasfilm, with a worldwide unveiling scheduled for the Los Angeles Auto Show (Nov. 18-27). Nissan said the the Rogue is its top-selling model.
For its dual Rogue One-holiday campaign, Duracell has released a 60-second spot, "How the Rebels Saved Christmas," which follows young patients in a hospital "forging an epic Star Wars duel while delivering a battery-powered toy to another patient’s hospital room.”"
According to Ramon Velutini, marketing director for Duracell, the theme of the spot was inspired by real kids.
"After visiting the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we saw first-hand the impact that the power of imaginative play has on children and we were instantly inspired to support their mission," said Velutini in a statement. "Imaginative play truly is the best medicine — that’s why this holiday season Duracell is on a mission to power long-lasting play for those who need it most.
"There is no better way to do this than by partnering with Star Wars. The sheer power of this story has ignited imaginations for decades, and Duracell is excited to continue working with Star Wars to power the imaginations of the next generation," said Velutini.
Toys 'R' Us has unveiled in its catalog and online an exclusive assortment of Rogue One and Star Wars products, scheduled to hit retail this month.
Meanwhile, the What on Earth catalog has exclusive distribution rights to a galaxy Star Wars items that likely will never appear onscreen, available through the What On Earth catalog and Web site as well as on the Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Prime.
• Star Wars Rogue One Darth Vader Light Saber Handheld Immersion Blender (pictured above)
• Star Wars Rogue One Death Star Hot Air Popcorn Maker with Removable Bowl
• Star Wars Darth Vader Anakin Luke Skywalker Rey and Finn Light Saber Salt & Pepper Mills
• Star Wars Rey & Chewie Millenian Falcon Cockpit Hyperspace Heat Changing Coffee Mug
• Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker
• Darth Vader Helmet-Shaped Toaster
"We are extremely pleased to be working with such a remarkable group of promotional partners for 'Rogue One,'" Lynwen Brennan, GM for Lucasfilm, said in a statement. "This first in a series of Star Wars standalone films represents an exciting new era for both Star Wars and Lucasfilm, and the partners joining us on this exciting journey have each designed a stellar campaign capturing the spirit and camaraderie of Rogue One."
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