Like a bunch of giddy schoolboys, we’re eagerly waiting in anticipation for the new Star Wars film, and as December 18 nears everyone from Sony to Subway floods TV spots with sci-fi-filled marketing ploys in the hopes of landing a few last minute sales before the new year. But $5 foot-longs and video games aren’t the only options on the auction block this holiday season: Almost every brand under the Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) umbrella is getting in on it too.
While I retain my stance on the fact that his royal Darth-ness would indeed drive a heavily armored SUV were he bound by worldly laws of physics, a disturbance in the Force has alerted us to the fact that FCA’s clever ads are bit more meaningful than its 30 second spots might have us believe.
In an unlikely alliance with Disney and Lucasfilm, FCA rolled out a global marketing campaign earlier this month that co-promotes the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens film as well as Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, and Fiat brands. All together, seven different 30-second co-branded television spots were created to run in North America, as well as Argentina and Brazil.
All seven of these ads are distinctly different from the next, and each one includes various creative elements from the movie, including images, music, and sound effects, all liberally slathered behind footage of FCA vehicles specific to those sold in countries airing said spots. Additional spots will be rolled out in countries throughout the FCA EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), and we can only hope to find an ad featuring Emperor Palpatine in a murdered-out 300C with matching red Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio sport sedans on either side representing his royal guard complete with creepy monks chanting and everything.
“Having our brands be part of the global conversation surrounding one of the most anticipated movies in recent years provides remarkable worldwide exposure for our Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, RAM, and Fiat brands,” says Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer for FCA Global. “Collaborating with Disney and Lucasfilm on Star Wars: The Force Awakens once again provides the opportunity to deliver the unexpected – relevant, entertaining and immediately noticed end-of-the-year Tier 2 commercials true to the individuality of each of our brands and featuring the Star Wars music and sound design known around the world.”
With a campaign designed to target a very wide demographic of consumers, these clever commercials have been hitting the U.S. in primetime during premier NFL and college football programs. Why? Because outside of Star Wars, beer, and football, dudes really dig Hellcats, Vipers, RAM trucks, and off-road Jeeps. Sure, there are radio spots and social media extensions with their own augmented versions of the U.S. television campaign, but dammit if that Viper doesn’t look sinisterly seductive rolling up to the box office to the beat of “The Imperial Death March.” Topping it off, Dodge even showcased a Star Wars-themed vehicle at the December 14 Star Wars: The Force Awakens World Premiere in Los Angeles the other night, something likely to be considered a collector’s car off the bat.
Lucasfilm first announced back in August that it was collaborating with FCA and six other global brands to promote its latest blockbuster, and in addition to its most recent marketing campaign, the Fiat brand displayed a custom-painted Fiat 500e Stormtrooper which had been inspired by the armor of the First Order Legion at the LA Auto Show. Adding to the fun, Mattel’s Hot Wheels offered Uber riders in New York a chance to catch a free ride in a custom-wrapped Dodge Charger that had been uniquely styled after a Stormtrooper, and what we wouldn’t have done to flag one down that day.