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David Poland

By David Poland

Star Whores?

Have you noticed that LucasFilm has once again started its marketing effort for the next and last Star Wars movie by bringing their “stars” into high profile spots for mass market companies?

Darth Vader appears as a punch line for both Target and ESPN.  Both spots feature a Storm Trooper and the ESPN spot also features C3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca. 

Every time I see one of these spots… and they’ve done this at 9 months out or so on all three of the new movies… I wonder why they are bastardizing their brand.  But I guess that showing themselves as having a sense of humor about the franchise and reasserting the iconic nature of these characters is a higher priority. 

It’s a very daring move.  William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy making fun of themselves for money is one thing, but these characters are expected to generate a billion dollars at the box office next summer.  Perhaps it is the ultimate show of power… Lucas can afford to do what others don’t dare. 

9 Responses to “Star Whores?”

  1. Dan R% says:

    I enjoyed the ESPN spot. The Target one was okay. The Wal-Mart one bothers me though. It seemed like that was really selling out.
    Even though it’s great to see the characters I do think it’s cheapening the image of STAR WARS in the long run. I know Lucas makes all his money off of merchandising, but next summer will be overfilled with chip bags and pop cans…I guess you can call this a pre-emptive strike?

  2. Martin says:

    I figure Lucas is making $$$ while he can. A year from now no one’s gonna give a shit about Star Wars, so he should go for it while the market is still somewhat hot.

  3. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Martin, people will continue to give a shit about
    Star Wars for years to come. Apparently you missed
    the last 29 years, and are acting as if these
    films are just going to go away.
    As a Star Wars fan, nothing made me laugh more than
    Ice-T giving Vader some solids in that commercial.
    I mean, not like Poland would remember tha back in
    the day guys got dressed up in Darth Vader suits
    all across this country to do opennings or in-stores.
    Not like he should, but that little bit of info
    sort of makes your point null and void Poland.
    LFL are not a bunch of tight asses, and at least
    know how to have fun. Anyone with a sense of
    humour should be able to take these commercials
    in jest, and move on about their business. Vader
    messing with people at ESPN kicks ass. A stormtrooper
    board out of his mind in that Target commercial
    does as well.
    Not like someone such as yourself David would realize
    that LFL are just using the characters the way
    fan films have been for years. Again, you call
    them whores for having a sense of humour.
    That’s just fucking weak.

  4. Eric says:

    Whenever I see a Star Wars ad, it reminds me of and enforces the notion of Lucas prostrating himself fully at the altar of the dollar.
    Note that you’ll never see any characters but the “faceless” ones– Vader, the droids, a stormtrooper– in these ads, because you don’t need any of the movies’ actors to participate, and you don’t need to pay them royalties.
    You can toss anybody in a Vader costume. It’s easier and it’s all profit that way– and you don’t have to rely on a famous actor who, unlike George Lucas, is not shameless enough to hock for Doritos.

  5. David Poland says:

    There was a question mark after “whores.” It’s called starting a discussion.
    And I do remember – and refer to – the earlier incarnations of this for the other movies.
    I don’t think Lucas is doing this for money… not at all. It’s clear that the strategy is to bring the characters back into the minds of mainstream audiences long before the movie starts being sold. It’s daring and it’s obviously been successful.
    But if you can’t see that it is fair to question it, it is you who have no sense of humor or perspective.

  6. Eric says:

    Just because the spot is well done doesn’t mean it won’t dilute the potency of the characters, in the movies and anywhere else.
    Shouldn’t I be awed and intimidated by Darth Vader? Instead, when I see Episode 3, I’m going to chuckle at the memory of him in some Target spot. A more caring creator than Lucas wouldn’t undermine his own work by selling it out. But if artistic integrity was the name of the game, we wouldn’t have collectible Star Wars Pepsi cans.
    You’re right, David, it is all about raising awareness. But “raising awareness,” roughly translated, means “selling more tickets.” In the end, it’s about money.

  7. Reece's Pieces says:

    With issues such as this, I am reminded of the “Simpsons” episode when the family sees an obvious take-off of SW: Episode I. The Comic Book Guy leaves the theater declaring–
    “Worse sequel ever. I will only see it three more times. Today.”
    And he gets back in line.
    That’s the problem with Star Wars. Disney does this kind of marketing all the time and, though diehards (and poor Mr. Disney spinning in his grave, God bless him) might hate it, it’s called MARKETING for a reason. You bet it’s whoring–but we keep coming back to the red light district regardless, hungering for our fix.
    Lucas has milked this property since 1977. Why are we surprised? The guy just keep getting richer by the ten million Comic Book Guys out there in the world.

  8. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Yes David, you might have put an question at the end
    of that sentence. However, not like you are not
    known for being about as snarky as one can come. So
    I apologize if I took it the wrong way.
    The thing being is this; Darth Vader, as in an official rep
    of LFL, was doing store opennings before Empire came out.
    I see these commercials, especially the ESPN, as
    doing a much better job of getting the characters
    out there then having Darth openning a small chain
    store. This is nothing new.
    I have no idea why there should be a question.
    If you already knew things had been like this for
    awhile now. But if you feel no one can distinct
    between a silly commercial and a film where Vader
    will be more known as being Canadian than being in
    a suit, then so be it.
    This does not affect Vader or that poor lowly Stormtrooper
    in the least.

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