The Force is Strong with Disney

By: Mark Lindquist

The article “The Force Is With Them: Three Companies That Will Make Big Money From Star Wars”, by Lauren Gensler discusses how the Walt Disney Company, Hasbro, and Electronic Arts will heavily profit from the release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Purchasing LucasFilm in 2012 for $4 billion, Disney acquired the company that created Star Wars, one of the most popular movie brands ever created. Now in 2015, Disney is producing a continuation of the story beginning in December with the release of Episode VII. Star Wars: Episode VII appeals to a wide range of target markets because it is designed for the younger generations, yet provides powerful nostalgia to many adults, parents, and science fiction enthusiasts that grew up with the original Star Wars movies.

Marketing for a movie brand that has had an immensely loyal fan-base for over 30 years globally, Disney had high expectations placed on its shoulders the moment that the dotted line was signed. Disney has been a well-known entertainment juggernaut for decades and has been very successful at selecting marketing and promotion techniques. Partnering with Hasbro toys, Disney launched the campaign “Force Friday” to promote the newest Star Wars toy-line to be sold beginning midnight Friday, September 4th, 2015.

When I thought of the words “Force Friday” I felt the message of a special sales holiday such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which differentiated Force Friday as an extraordinary day of the year. Two days prior on September 2nd, Disney created a line of YouTube videos using Star Wars fans and famous internet personalities to introduce the new merchandise for 18 consecutive hours. The online event concluded with a global toy-opening celebration on Force Friday. Star Wars is one of the few brands that receive such profound star treatment on a global scale. Electronic Arts is to further promote Episode VII when Star Wars Battlefront is released on XBOX One and PS4 gaming consoles this November.

With its very effective utilization of integrated marketing communications, Disney focused on a more personal approach utilizing direct and interactive marketing techniques. Using YouTube as its social-media channel, Disney made an effort to create a personalized relationship with the Star Wars fan-base and allowed the fans to self-market the movie while enjoying the new products. The YouTube videos served as a conduit for online direct marketing from the seller to the potential customer, but in this case Star Wars fans communicated directly to fellow Star Wars fans. The videos also inherently produced integrated marketing because the fan-base was allowed to be in control of the content. Disney also made AIDA marketing look easy, when in just 18 hours it went through the process of attention, interest, desire, and action, enticing the Star Wars fan-base.

Star Wars is a perennial powerhouse movie brand, and Disney is already generating millions in profits because it took a personal interactive approach with its loyal fan-base. Beginning in 2015, Hasbro’s sales from Star Wars toys are expected to double to from $200 million to $400 million annually, due to the Force Friday promotion. Electronic Arts is expected to sell a minimum of 9 to 10 million copies of Star Wars Battlefront just weeks prior to the Episode VII release. For Disney, Star Wars is capable of making its owner an additional $500 in revenues from merchandise and Episode VII could possibly reach $1 billion in revenues. According to Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, “the excitement around the film was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.” It is uncertain at this time if the Star Wars movie and merchandise excitement will continue after Episode VII is released, but for now the fans can conclude that the Star Wars movie brand is in very capable hands.

Work Cited

Gensler, Lauren. “The Force Is With Them: Three Companies That Will Make Big Money From Star Wars.” Forbes. Forbes-Investing, 3 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Oct. 2015.

13 thoughts on “The Force is Strong with Disney

  1. Ziwei Feng October 15, 2015 / 10:14 am

    Disney’s marketing strategies are always brilliant and creative, and always help their audiences experience the “brand story”in a fresh new way. There another article I read recently from Forbes says that your brand needs a story in order to give your products context, meaning, and emotion. Because a compelling brand story increases revenue and it was inspired by Disney.
    I am impressed the way how Disney promote their product. I think using the social media is a lower advertising spending but widely publicity.


  2. Melissa Santos October 16, 2015 / 6:07 pm

    I am genuinely impressed with Disney’s tactics in order to promote this new Star Wars film. Not only was it genious, it was also so creative. They mimicked the concept of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” and used these two “internet holidays” to their advantage. Additionally, they even saved on expenses and went through the social media outlet, YouTube. With a strong brand name like Disney backing Star Wars, I think the Star Wars will continue to be extremely successful in the upcoming years. Disney, time and time again, has successfully marketed and pushed all of its projects out with high levels of success globally. Disney marketing is always innovative, and hands on, which entices Disney’s audience, stimulates enthusiasm, and gets people talking. Disney, much like Star Wars, appeals to all generations and all ages. With the Star Wars take off, fortunately for Disney, they are able to market to, reach and appeal to an audience of all ages, and diverse all backgrounds.


  3. veloniss November 12, 2015 / 5:22 pm

    I am really happy with the personal approach that Disney is taking, utilizing both direct and interactive marketing techniques. The line of YouTube videos is genius, as it almost doublings as a forum for Star Wars fans across the world to discuss the series and hype up the release of the new film. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in December but I am anticipating great things from Disney with the new Star Wars installment.


  4. Gautham Vamshi Podila November 14, 2015 / 8:15 am

    Disney is always creative with its new ideas. The kind of marketing they do no one can do like them, they got a big fan base all over the world, what ever they do is just creating a huge impact on audiences and creating curiosity for their upcoming project STAR WARS. This is an impressive publicity strategy which attracts the Star Wars fans and grab their curiosity towards the film and gain profits.


  5. Patrick Coskren December 3, 2015 / 12:20 am

    Disney is one of those companies that contently innovates and inspires. It’s those qualities that make Disney something that can be seen as timeless. As mentioned, with the addition on Star Wars in combination with the many franchise they already own they are creating a customer base to stretch over centuries. Although their main market may be concentrated towards children, the addition on not only Star Wars but Marvel as well shows me Disney is expanding to appeal to its customers over all ages. They have found and targeted these topics that are primarily inhabited by the older generation and reminded them of a brand they knew as children.


  6. Andrew Lak December 3, 2015 / 4:20 am

    I feel that Disney, haveing been to the parks, really touches the consumer on personal levels that most companys really strive for. With that said it is almost safe to say when a new file or story is released I feel that consumers are more willing to take notice because of the company behind the scenes. Disney has created such an enourmus fantastic brand that as consumers we know great stories such as Star Wars will never disappoint. Their marketing plan was definatly unique and made fans be more interactive which again is genius. Something different that consumers and Disney fans will remember.


  7. Adam Chadbourne December 5, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    Disney has always seemed to be a company that focuses on personal interaction to help market what they have to offer. Years ago, they had a series of commercials where people sent in the reaction of telling their family that they were going to a Disney park, and then showing some of the families actually being at the park. Disney tries to specifically bring fans into the commercial because they want to relate to their target: other fans, and using them for their series of commercials seems to be successful. Also, by using a media site such as YouTube, they have an easy way of getting the commercials to their audience, along with giving the audience the ability to watch the videos on their schedule. Also, fans could share the videos with their friends on other social media sites so Disney could get more awareness of Force Friday. Overall, Disney always seems to have innovative ways of marketing.


  8. Emily Koba December 8, 2015 / 2:54 am

    Regardless of the marketing, Star Wars has such a cult-like following that the movie’s success is almost guaranteed. However, it is the job of companies such as Disney and Hasbro to increase awareness beyond the franchise’s core fans. The integration of YouTube was a great mechanism to engage fans while also giving them the power to self-market. When it comes to attention to detail and dedication to consumer experience, I can’t think of a better example than Disney. By them acquiring the company that created Star Wars, they will surely lend the franchise their creativity to ensure the success of Star Wars’ marketing strategy.


  9. Ashleigh Sargent December 9, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    I am always very impressed that Disney has been able to maintain its appeal across generations for decades. Even as technology has changed and new trends develop, the Disney parks are still a destination for family vacations and Disney products are sold in stores throughout the world. I think the acquisition of Star Wars is smart move for Disney because it expands their already large consumer base. The Star Wars franchise also benefits from the brand equity of Disney and the innovative, personalized marketing strategies that the company has used throughout its history.


  10. Owen Jarem December 9, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    Disney has always been able to appeal to such a wide audience. By teaming up with a movie franchise as large as Star Wars, Disney has definitely set themselves up for major success. I know that Star Wars fans who may be skeptic of this marriage between Star Wars and Disney are still going to see the movie, strictly based off the fact that it is another Star Wars film. In turn, because the movie is being turned out by Disney, I feel that more people who may not have previously been interested in Star Wars will have much more incentive to see the film. People watch Disney movies for the overall experience it provides, and the partnership between these two should make for a box office hit.


  11. Tyler Berube December 9, 2015 / 7:02 pm

    For years, Disney has always been the forerunner in marketing success, because of their ability to appeal to people of all ages. Many of us millennials grew up with the classic Disney stories, and our parents certainly with the Star Wars saga. So in essence, Disney is avoiding a niche market of catering only to children (and children at heart), and expanding their clientele to reach an even broader scope. Kudos to Disney!


  12. Brad Daly December 10, 2015 / 2:47 am

    Disney has obviously always used their creative expertise to their advantage. This is no different. Their acquisition of the Star Wars brand and everything associated with it will pay off immensely. This could also be one of their biggest moves they have ever made. Not only will they make money from whatever movies they do, but they will make money the toys, licensing, and the additions and attractions to their parks as well. Disney is truly a company for everyone because so many people have grown up with it and has the ability to cater to the older generations and the generations that are yet to come. I believe that this is easily one of the best things that Disney as a company could do.


  13. MIchael Arcidi December 10, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    The acquisition of Star Wars a power move for the timeless entertainment firm Disney. The legacy of Star Wars has captivated the minds child and adult alike since it original release in the 70s. What truly makes the Star Wars franchise valuable is this timeless appeal, years since the final move was released merchandise can still be seen at major retailers in the forms of toys and movies. This vast public interest and deep penetration into society has made Star Wars a multi-billion dollar brand, which disney has been wise to capitalize upon. I believe that there is still plenty of money to be made from the franchise, as the possibility for another saga is a viable option for Disney.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s