Revealed! The Secrets Of Disney’s Star Wars Marketing!

Revealed! The Secrets Of Disney’s Star Wars Marketing!

Sure, it might be a brand that doesn’t actually need to advertisie, but when the Star Wars franchise released the seventh movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens many were frothing for extra Star Wars bits and bobs. But while many wanted more, Disney’s Australia and New Zealand chief marketer, Gavin Ashcroft, said content scarcity was the go-to plan.

At Forrester’s CX Marketing forum in Sydney yesterday Ashcroft graced the stage to share secrets behind Star Wars’ marketing plan.


On the left, Gavin Ashcroft talks about Star Wars.

It boils down to 365 model – marketing all year round – for the franchise overall and a scarcity model for the seventh film.

Marketing Star Wars As A Brand

The Star Wars films brings with it a mammoth fan base. And when it came to time to push the seventh film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ashcroft said it was critical to stick with the Star Wars initiative of 365 days and stay authentic. The team uses the mantra ‘one place, one history, one story’ to help stay true.

“It’s a mantra that we’ve returned to all of the time with Star Wars,” he told the audience at the forum.

“It’s one story, no matter where you interact with Star Wars, the games or interactive content…making it seamless for fans and for audiences.”

Ashcroft said the focus for Star Wars marketing in general is a 365 method – marketing all year round, not just at hyped up moments such as the seventh film release.

“We have a calendar designed that utterly places as much emphasis between the movies as the movie corridors themselves,” he said.

“That is again the linking initiatives and ensuring our audiences are engaged. There’s always a Star Wars moment coming.”

He noted the illustrious international Star Wars day on May fourth – May the Fourth Be With You – along with a play on Father’s Day – I Am Your Father’s Day – as examples of Star Wars moments that happen even when the films are playing.

Marketing Star Wars: The Force Awakens

When it came to specifically marketing the seventh film, Ashcroft said it was all about scarcity and partnerships.

“In terms of reigniting the franchise and launching this magnificent movie, our starting point was really fortunate,” he said.

“We’ve got a really engaged base of fans in Australia and are seeking out Star Wars content all the time. When you have a movie like The Force Awakens, you have a unique opportunity to reach out to new audiences and kick-start a new generation of fandom as well.

“It was very much a less is more approach when launching that movie.”

He noted in the 12-15 months before the premiere, the franchise had put out no more than three and a half minutes of content. It meant they had to think carefully about how to market the movie, and keep up that sense of demand.

The best example that the idea of holding back content had actually worked was during the pre-sale of tickets. Pre-sales are a bit hit and miss, said Ashcroft, as consumers aren’t getting them any cheaper. The demand and anticipation for this particular film were ripe though with sales through the roof.

Ashcroft said content for films is usually quite high, so to compensate for the lack of visual content, the Disney marketing team utilised a number of partnerships to drive anticipation.

Some partnerships might seem obvious in this instance – such as the coupling with car brand Holden as it reached the target audience of young and older men alike.


Partnering with makeup brand Covergirl though was a surprising one though, said Ashcroft. It was a way of targeting new audiences, predominantly female.


“It actually started with a colour range and design that tapped into the feel of Star Wars and deliver on the light side/dark side looks,” he said, adding they built it out into a fashion event.

“We were able to drive publicity out of this initiative and reach spaces we perhaps wouldn’t have gone without this partnership.”

Please login with linkedin to comment

\ Advertising Standards Bureau forrester cx marketing forum gavin ashcroft Marketing to Women QMS Media

Latest News

Atomic 212° Wins BMW Group’s Media Planning & Buying
  • Media

Atomic 212° Wins BMW Group’s Media Planning & Buying

Following a competitive pitch process with representation from major agency groups, BMW Group Australia has appointed Atomic 212° as the lead agency to manage their media planning and buying. The appointment is effective from January 1st 2021 and is a testament to Atomic 212°’s data-led smarter, faster and accountable media model. The account will sit […]

Deliveroo Turns On Beach Delivery For This Summer
  • Media

Deliveroo Turns On Beach Delivery For This Summer

With temperatures up to 40 degrees across Australia last week, it’s safe to say it’s officially Summer weather. Enter beach delivery by Deliveroo to guarantee a sand-free sandwich or burger whilst you enjoy the rays and waves. From 2 December, Australians nationwide will be able to set many of the country’s 10,000 beaches as their […]

Ex-Hogarth Executive & Fusion Co-Gounder Bucks Agency Model With New Product Design Firm, Diagram 
  • Advertising

Ex-Hogarth Executive & Fusion Co-Gounder Bucks Agency Model With New Product Design Firm, Diagram 

John Chaplin (pictured), former Chief Product Officer of Hogarth Australia and Co-founder of award winning digital agency Fusion, has launched a new digital product design company, Diagram. Based in Sydney, Diagram are a collective of creators and makers who partner with individuals, agencies, startups, business and industry to design and build considered, elegant digital products. […]

Salesforce Makes Moves In Automation And Digital Transformation As Part Of Dreamforce 2020
  • Media

Salesforce Makes Moves In Automation And Digital Transformation As Part Of Dreamforce 2020

After announcing the mega acquisition of workplace chat company Slack yesterday, tech giant Salesforce has made a raft of announcements as part of this year’s annual Dreamforce event, which has been held virtually. Headlining the announcements was news of Salesforce Hyperforce, which comes as a reimagination of the company’s platform architecture built to securely and […]

Marketing strategy on digital mobile platform - cross-device tracking programmatic advertising and multi targeting with laptop and mobile phone gadgets.
  • Media

DoubleVerify Launches Publisher Suite For Digital Publishers

DoubleVerify has today announced the launch of the DV Publisher Suite, providing the measurement, insights and tools digital publishers need to improve ad delivery, assess inventory quality and maximize yield. For publishers, generating revenue has never been more complex. Today’s demand-side landscape consists of thousands of potential buyers, each with their own unique requirements, transacting […]

Chocolate Cookie  -Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera
  • Technology

Verizon Media Launches ConnectID As A Cookie-Less Solution

Verizon Media has announced the launch of its new unified identity solution, Verizon Media ConnectID. Built on the foundation of Verizon Media’s consumer-first values and market-leading advertising technologies, the new unified ID solution is designed to support advertisers, publishers and consumers as the digital landscape evolves away from cookies as a way to manage and […]

Fleur Head Steps Into MD Role At VMLY&R New Zealand
  • Advertising

Fleur Head Steps Into MD Role At VMLY&R New Zealand

VMLY&R NZ announces Fleur Head is stepping into the role of Managing Director VMLY&R New Zealand following the resignation of current MD James Mok. Head was previously Managing Director of VMLY&R Wellington. Wellington-based Head, who has more than 25 years agency and management experience across both the Auckland and Wellington markets, will lead VMLY&R NZ […]