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TODD SMITH — The Force is with Star Wars cross promotion


The new Star Wars movie – “The Rise of Skywalker” – is more than a month away from hitting theaters, but the cross-promotion force is already with us!

Numerous brands are jumping on the galactic battle faster than you can shake a lightsaber!

Recently, Halmark launched a new holiday spot with 180LA, in which a daughter surprises her parents on Halloween by making a last-minute costume switch from Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker, according to Ad Age.

Le Creuset has cooked up some out of this world products, unveiling a new carbonite-frozen Han Solo roaster, Death Star and Millennium Falcon trivets, droid-themed mini cocottes, and a Darth Vader round Dutch oven.

For its latest safety video, United Airlines staff walk through the standard FAA safety regulations with different Star Wars-themed destinations displayed in the background. At one point, a flight attendant shows how to buckle a seat belt at the Star Wars exhibit in Sydney. Another crew member discusses the plane’s safety features in front of Star Wars street art in São Paulo, according to Ad Age.

Airplanes and spaceships have strong crossover – they are both flying vehicles – the safety video doesn’t mention the similarity, which seems like a crashed opportunity.

Porsche, on the other hand, is shifting into high gear on co-branded space travel, aligning its road vehicle expertise with Lucasfilm’s spaceship experts. In its new cross-promotion with the studio, in partnership with Wired Brand Lab, Porsche’s Michael Mauer, vice president of style, and Doug Chiang, an executive creative director at Lucasfilm, are working together to design a new space craft set to be revealed at the film’s premiere.

General Electric is also entering the Star Wars publicity sweepstakes with a new marketing campaign for GE appliances, “Harnessing the Force of Innovation.” The campaign, which includes video spots and a merchandising presence in 10,000 stores, follows a daughter as she “uses the force” to help her family activate a variety of new GE features like a voice-activated washing machine and hands-free autofill water dispenser on its fridge.

Lucasfilm is also working on Star Wars cross-promotions with Bose on an audio augmented reality experience, Samsung Mobile, General Mills, Dannon, and McDonald’s, which will feature Star Wars-themed collectible characters in its Happy Meals, according to Ad Age. Disney for its part is heavily promoting its Star Wars franchise this quarter as it prepares for the release of a new Star Wars universe TV series, “The Mandalorian,” on its Disney+ service in addition to the theatrical release of “The Rise of Skywalker.” 

Despite Cable News Darlings, PBS is Still News King – and has a new logo to boot

It is no surprise that Fox News dominates the cable news market, and others – MSNBC and CNN – are also go-to news sources.

Yet, one broadcaster beats them all, with more audience reach than any of them: PBS!

According to a recent Nielsen report, 215 million people, or 83% of all U.S. television households, watch PBS via “traditional television.” The network reaches 89% of non-internet homes, 82% of lower-income homes, and 78% of rural homes. Its demographics reflect that of the overall U.S. population in regard to race, ethnicity, education, income, and geography.

And PBS was ranked the most trusted institution among contenders that included courts of law, cable and broadcast tv, newspapers, digital media, and more, according to a 2019 report by Marketing & Research Resources.

Though the broadcaster had near universality in American homes, it was in need of a rebrand as it continued to expand into the digital world, according to Fast Company. It presented a design challenge for Connie Birdsall, global creative director, and Bogdan Geana, partner, of creative consultancy Lippincott, who developed the new brand identity for PBS, along with Shelby Hawker, senior partner, and Emily Guilmette, partner.

While Birdsall felt the logo developed by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv in 2009 “had a lot of strength,” the mark, and the branding around it and – was primed for a 2019 relaunch.

So, the Lippincott team went back to the logo to determine how to adapt it for the digital age. When looking at the new mark itself, you will notice only slight changes. But it is compelling for brand cohesion and direction.

The team wanted the mark to be quickly identifiable as users switch across platforms. So, they first turned to adopting a consistent, proprietary color, which had to convey PBS’s standing as a “thoughtful and thought-provoking media leader,” and the trust it has established with viewers, according to Fast Company. The team landed on a vibrant, brighter blue to differentiate from any unwanted political affiliation (including the Democratic Party).

The team also made changes to the design of the mark itself. It was simplified and the typography was enlarged, the size of the head inside the circle was scaled up, and the type to equal the height of the head, so the two design elements read as one unit together.

But PBS can’t mandate the changes to member stations like a traditional broadcast network, and according to officials, its 330+ local stations don’t have to use the logo in the presentation of their station identity.

Therefore, adoption of the new brand identity became a process that sought input from stations across the nation. PBS consulted extensively with its affiliates on the direction a new brand. According to PBS, when they synthesized all that information, the stations saw the same opportunities: they need to do “a better job of reflecting the PBS that already exists. Around 70% of PBS’s more than 330 member stations have agreed to adopt the new brand – because they resonated with the new brand’s simplicity of design that could reach across platforms.

Kremed Mic: Krispy Kreme Venture Caper Helps College Student Pay Off Debt

Fast food brands typically frown on customers who purchase their products with the intent to resell. No matter how innocent, quality control goes out the drive-through window.

But taking too drastic of a measure could backfire in the court of public opinion and impact the brand negatively.

So, when Krispy Kreme found out about a college kid selling its doughnuts to help pay of student debt, the confectioner decided to partner with the 21-year-old student from Minnesota – who drove hundreds of miles to sell the chain’s delectable spheres of sugary sin.

After initially trying to squash young entrepreneur Jayson Gonzalez’ dreams, they fueled his venture with free donuts instead.

As part of that new deal, Krispy Kreme announced that his first 500 boxes in their venture together would be on the house. “Our main concern is that the doughnuts Jayson sells maintain our high product quality standards, given the distance and manner in which he is transporting and distributing them,” the company said according to Business Insider. “So, we are happy to work with Jayson as an independent operator to ensure consistent delivery of our high-quality doughnuts to our fans in Minnesota. We wish Jayson great success and we’re thrilled to help him achieve it by donating 500 dozen doughnuts when he restarts his business.”

Gonzalez was pleasantly – and enthusiastically – stunned! “I am pumped to announce that I will be able to continue the business soon and have the support of Krispy Kreme. They want to ensure I become an independent operator and make sure the brand is represented well,” Gonzalez posted to his Krispy Kreme Run Minnesota Facebook page. “On both ends, there are things that are being worked on right now to achieve that as this is being made as a special exception. But nonetheless, we can get started up again soon once certain things are in place.”

And that, my friends, takes the cake, er doughnut!

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, follow him @spinsurgeon and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners.


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