A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a franchise spanning decades was created. This year, the epic returns with the originals in tow, well, minus one. Disney has big expectations for Star Wars, which came with a $4 billion price tag.
How does Disney continue the saga more than 30 years after the original and turn The Force Awakens into the biggest blockbuster of the year? It uses the force—ahem—of its partners.
Since mid-October, advertising featuring Star Wars has been ramping up, though the data makes it clear that Disney let its partners do the heavy-lifting early on. 4C Advertising Analytics reveals that it was not until the second week of December that The Force Awakens trailers commanded the majority of the advertising time.
Further tracking reveals most of the advertising has been on programming for kids. Teen Titans Go! had the most Star Wars advertising with 229.5 minutes. Second was another refreshed blast from the past series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with 114.5 minutes.
A large number of toy partnerships, the holiday season, and the motivation to build excitement among a generation who has no history with the franchise are drivers behind these media buys. To date, the most effort has been spent promoting Star Wars products from a diverse set of toy and game companies rather than the film itself.
While our proprietary ad occurrence data is useful for figuring out how TV ad dollars are invested, 4C social data is powerful for understanding consumer response to advertising. Our Penetration Per Thousand (PPM) metric shows us for every thousand people who engaged with a particular TV program on Facebook and Twitter, how many of them also engaged with Star Wars. Comparing the PPM from Q3 to Q4 makes it possible to determine which programs moved the needle the most with consumers.
Jimmy Kimmel Live is the top program generating a PPM lift of 191%. While only 3 Star Wars ad spots aired during the show, many in-program integrations helped drive the PPM increase.
Sponsorships on Disney-owned properties dominate. In addition to Jimmy Kimmel Live, ABC’s Black-ish, The View, and Shark Tank and ESPN’s SportsNation and SportsCenter (earning a 95% PPM lift from a sizeable 121 spots) took 6 of the top 10 programs producing the most lift.
While many factors will contribute to Star Wars’ box office success on December 18, there is no doubt that its partnerships will have been a major force.
Stay tuned as we cover the film’s release and the most impactful partnerships in episodes II and III of this Star Wars 4C Impact Report Trilogy.