First Campaign to Hype Product Tie-ins With 'Episode II'

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- The marketing blitz for the latest Star Wars movie product tie-ins kicks off today with a campaign for a new video game from LucasArts Entertainment.

The 30-second spot for "Star Wars Jedi Starfighter" from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, San Francisco, and Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound takes different approach to standard video-game advertising, which is usually shows fast-paced images from games.

The spot resembles a car commercial, with with chorale music behind a British-accented voice-over discussing sleek aerodynamic design, state-of-the-art navigation system and the most powerful engines in its class. A Jedi Knight then appears and summons the Force to the vehicle. "The most anticipated vehicle of the year now comes with optional Force powers," the voice-over declares.

The commercial starts a two week flight today on MTV, Comedy Central, ESPN, ESPN 2, FOX Sports, USA Network, TBS, Sci-Fi Channel, TNN and Cartoon Network. The spot may run again closer to the debut of the new film, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, due in theatres in May.

Spending for the campaign is estimated at under $2 million.

The video game commercial is the first of what is expected to be a new advertising blitz for products related to the Star Wars release. Some of the licensed products for Episode 1 had mixed results. Products which skewed young were successful, while those targeted upmarket fared less well.

Staff writer Wayne Friedman contributed to this report.

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