Although merchandising has been around since movies became mainstream, Star Wars was the first to really cash in on it. The movie was the star attraction, but allowing people to purchase a little piece of the franchise, drew them further into the ‘western sci-fi’ and kept them wanting more. Ironically what helped with this demand was the ill-prepared toy manufacturer Kenner, who simply were not ready for the popularity of the toys / merchandising – scarcity seemed to only fuel the fire.
This cross over from screen to action figures and beyond added a very lucrative revenue stream for the movie company and the manufacturer and is a reminder that there are always different channels to explore within any business – especially for aspiration and high value brands, offering their own range of flagship products and services as well as entry level items for those who simply want the association (think of key rings and caps for motorcar enthusiast). Today, a movie wouldn’t be a movie without some kind of merchandising to follow in its path.
Star Wars has taken this concept to a new level which includes Lego, video games, apps, clothing and appearing on nearly every type of product you can think of. A true pioneer in Marketing history.
May the toys be with you…Always.