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How Did Star Wars Use Merchandise To Build Their Brand?

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[The following is a guest post from Stay Sourced. As luck would have it, my wife is selling Star Wars collectibles for her father on Ebay this week. Too bad they aren't any of the big ticket items.]

It is reported that $20 billion was made from merchandise from the Star Wars film series – how on earth have they done that, you might ask?

In the lead up to and after a film’s release marketing teams will organize a series of events, promotional giveaways available at Stay Sourced and produce merchandise to develop brand loyalty. For some films there is little success or opportunity to develop a ‘brand’ as such – a good film doesn’t always produce a ‘brand’ – so why is Star Wars different?

A successful film series and a cult following gave Star Wars the opportunity to learn more about their target audience, what they were interested in and what they wanted from the Star Wars franchise, the result? Every branded household item under the sun – from Rebel Alliance and USB flash drives to beach towels and snowboards, popular demand for Star Wars has meant that the franchise has developed promotional items to cater for everyone.

This dedicated following has meant that certain items have become collectibles which can sell for staggering prices at specialist auctions. Only this month one of the rarest Star Wars collectibles was unveiled, a British-made ‘Jawa’ - there are only believed to be two in existence. The figurine will go on auction this autumn and is expected to sell for around £12,000!

Here's a list of highest growing Star Wars collectibles at auctions:

  • George Lucas’ Panavision camera $625,000 at an auction in Beverly Hills
  • TIE Fighter Miniature from Star Wars: A New Hope sold for $350,000
  • Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber also sold for $240,000

Star Wars themed items vary from the classic collectible to the everyday household item such as branded stationary available at Stay Sourced to the downright bizarre. One stand out item has to be a Star Wars burger (!) which was produced by the French fast-food chain, ‘Quick’, to tie in with the release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3D in 2012.

The demand for Star Wars-themed items is far from over, in fact, we only need to reach 4th May each year and the whole world is inundated with Star Wars references and  a whole host of companies are starting to piggy-back onto the ‘May the 4th be with you’ phenomenon.

The Star Wars brand has therefore reached such astronomical heights (excuse the pun) that merchandise is no longer needed to promote the brand - fans are already there advocating it, people are making Star Wars-related items and marketing teams of companies are cashing-in on the popularity of the brand through viral campaigns.

Last updated on February 13, 2014.

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