The Star Wars Effect: How a Decades-Old Franchise Is Helping Brands in Nearly Every Industry

With the premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens tomorrow and pre-release showings tonight, ads featuring the franchise have been appearing everywhere. In addition to promotions for the movie and video game, brands in nearly every industry are getting in on the space-saga action, leaving the total ad spend at an estimated $87.8 million. But, does having Star Wars in ads actually benefit brands? After gathering data on all ads featuring Star Wars, we found that it does in fact make a difference.


The Movie: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

We began by looking at the catalyst of all this: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. As the first new Star Wars movie in 10 years, and the first in 30 to feature classic characters such as Princess Leia and Han Solo, fans are naturally excited about it — and you can see it in our numbers. The movie has earned 38% of the digital share of voice within the movie industry since trailers began airing in October, leaving other big-name releases with less fanfare than expected. For example, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 and Spectre (the latest Bond film) both spent millions more than Star Wars on advertising, but earned just 8% and 5% digital share of voice, respectively. Moreover, the film also boasts the highest ad engagement score in the industry — a 9.8 out of 10 — and the top spot for earned online views with 67 million as of today.

The Video Game: Star Wars: Battlefront

As If having the highest-performing movie wasn’t enough, the franchise has also recently released a new video game. Star Wars: Battlefront came out in November, and while it isn’t crushing the competition like its movie counterpart, it’s still having a successful run. Within the video game industry, its ads have landed EA Games the number two spot for brand performance with 29.2% digital SOV; its holiday ad has the third-highest engagement score in its industry with a 9.8; and its gameplay launch trailer took the number four spot for earned views with 10.2 million and counting.

Co-branded Spots & the Overall Effect

Since the Star Wars brand itself is clearly doing well, we then asked ourselves: how were other ads that featured Star Wars faring? There were a lot to choose from: CoverGirl released a Star Wars makeup collection, Kay Jewellers came out with a Charmed Memories Star Wars Collection and Hewlett-Packard even released a Star Wars Special Edition Notebook.

Ad Engagement by Industry

star wars graph use


As it turns out, ads featuring Star Wars had on average 57% higher ad engagement scores than what is standard for their industry. Adding Star Wars to an ad has become the magic formula for success, with the highest impact occurring in the Furniture, Health and Beauty and Electronics industries. More traditional choices for a Star Wars integration actually performed less well, with Retail, Food and Beverage and Toys & Games having the least amount of improvement. The lesson for brands? Hop on the Star Wars bandwagon and reap the rewards, because you can’t go wrong!


*Star Wars: Battlefront data and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens data are from October 18 – December 17th, graph data is from October 18 – December 2nd.

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