Coca-Cola, forever linked with its Spencerian script brand logo, is about to speak a little Aurebesh, which is the language of Star Wars.
The cola giant has created customized orb-shaped bottles that will be sold exclusively inside Disney’s new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” theme parks. The first one will open at Disneyland in California on May 31 and the second one will debut at Orlando’s Disney World on Aug. 29.
Creating co-branded packaging with entertainment properties is a common tactic in the beverage industry. But Coke’s Star Wars collaboration is notable because it goes far beyond simply slapping a graphic or two on normal bottles. Disney put a big emphasis on having everything inside the park fit the Star Wars motif and Coca-Cola’s packaging is no different. Bottles for Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite feature droid-like resealable caps and labels printed in Aurebesh that appear scuffed and rusted. Special bottles of Coke-owned Dasani will also be sold.
Coca-Cola designers collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative unit that oversees theme park designs. Over three years, the two companies experimented with dozens of prototypes before settling on the final version. The goal is to be “completely authentic to Star Wars with immersive attention to detail,” says Scott Trowbridge, Disney Imagineering’s portfolio creative executive and studio leader.
Disney bills the 14-acre Galaxy’s Edge park as the “largest-ever, single-themed land expansion” at its Florida and California parks. It features the planet Batuu with attractions like riding in the Millennium Falcon and eating at Oga’s Cantina, where alcoholic offerings include Jedi Mind Trick cocktail, Bad Motivator IPA or Toniray wine, according to a Disneyland website.
Trowbridge says the Coke deal is the park’s biggest integration with a non-Star Wars brand sold inside the parks. The deal is part of Coca-Cola’s global pouring rights deal with Disney parks, a Coke spokeswoman confirms, declining to share financial details. Coke has been served at Disneyland since 1955 and at Disney World since 1971.
“The beauty of this partnership is that from the very beginning when Disney first had plans to start building the park, we had a seat at the table with Imagineering and with Lucasfilm,” says Ellen Gutierrez, Coca-Cola’s strategic partnerships and brand marketing director.
Coke does not plan to sell the bottles outside the park and does not plan to push them with paid advertising. But the marketer is banking on getting plenty of free media coverage. Coke and Disney planned to announce the collaboration on Saturday at a Star Wars fan festival in Chicago that is expected to lure 35,000 people over five days, according to local media reports.
Coke also plans to share a video touting the products on its social media channels.