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As a title, director of marketing hardly tells the tale of Jim Ward's role in what arguably is the movie industry's most intensely awaited release ever: "Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace."

Mr. Ward, 39, oversees all aspects of marketing for the three "prequels." He signs off on every marketing detail with sponsorship and promotion partners ranging from PepsiCo and Tricon Global Restaurants to toy marketer Hasbro.

He worked with domestic and international distribution and marketing partner 20th Century Fox, and the in-house team that created the five TV spots and all the print and outdoor work.

"Lucasfilm wanted to go outside the traditional movie industry and bring in someone from traditional consumer goods," says Mr. Ward, who arrived in 1997 from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., where he was global account director for Nike and Microsoft.

"The company felt that we needed someone to come in and focus on marketing 'Star Wars,' not just as these three films, but as a brand," he says. The original " 'Star Wars' was not manufactured by some marketing guys sitting around a table. Fast forward 20 years and times are different."

Lucasfilm is leveraging press coverage to help tell the story and sell the brand, all the while being sensitive to over-hype, admitted the man who oversaw from the agency side the launch of Windows 95 and the establishment of Nike as a ubiquitous brand.

Concerned about over-hyping the name, Mr. Ward spent the last two years convincing sponsor and licensing partners to take a more "measured approach" to the brand's marketing.

"That's a hard thing for other marketers to understand," he says. "It's a long

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