Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Star Wars: The Sales Force Awakens

I finally saw Disney's new Star Wars movie.  It is fun in many ways, but it seems to have been designed primarily to promote the franchise.

The new young leads include a strong young woman (a la Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games) and the first black character we have seen in that far-far-away galaxy.  There is a cute new droid, and furry Chewbacca returns to reprise his role in the first trilogy.

The plot has many action scenes, but not all of them make sense when you think about them afterward.

And of course the movie ends with two big story questions designed to bring the audience back for the next of the five more planned Star Wars films.

Honestly, if the Disney marketing department had been asked to turn out the script, it could not have done a better job.

Star Wars Products

Naturally, big new Star Wars areas (a la the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando) are being readied at Disneyland and Disney World.

And of course there are the usual Star Wars products -- shirts, hats, bobble-heads, posters, lunch boxes and Lego sets.

But these are only the beginning.  Here are some Star Wars-themed products that I have noticed recently.

Star Wars Crocs

Star Wars toothbrushes

Star Wars aprons

Star Wars lipsticks

Star Wars bedroom sets ($231 for the twin size)

Star Wars soccer balls -- and Star Wars basketballs too

Star Wars pencils

Star Wars Pez dispensers

Star Wars at the Grocery Store

Star Wars Grapes (and Star Wars oranges and Star Wars apples)

Star Wars Coffee-Mate

Star Wars water

Star Wars yogurt

Star Wars Cheez-its

Star Wars cereals

Star Wars macaroni and cheese

Too Much?

At the risk of sounding like a grinch, I wonder about the ubiquity of these promotions, most of which are pitched at children.

Kids naturally will want to play with toy light sabers and to dress up as Star Wars characters next Halloween.  I understand that people want to participate in the newest thing.

But children are less sophisticated consumers than adults.   It makes me uneasy when children are market targets for so many unrelated products that happen to have Star Wars labels slapped on them.

I imagine that more than a few families are drawing some lines here.

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