Disney Magic, Star Wars Style

Whether a company can strategically take advantage of its strengths can mean the difference between a successful public relations campaign and one that falls flat.

Disney’s latest public relations campaign/marketing strategy was a work of genius in this regard. In less than two months, the seventh movie in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, will debut. Due to the incredibly high expectations of its fan base, the anticipation surrounding the release of this movie is immense.

The Walt Disney Co. owns the rights to the Star Wars franchise, as well as owning sports channel ESPN. Disney was able to leverage both to their advantage. They chose to air the first look at the theatrical trailer for The Force Awakens during halftime of Monday Night Football on Oct 19.

In addition to cost savings by airing the 2:35-minute trailer free on a network they own, Disney was able to bring two diverse audiences together with no obvious overlap — Star Wars and NFL fans.

According to the Los Angeles Times, viewership surged by more than three million during the 15-minute halftime when the trailer aired.


It was a brilliant marketing and public relations move by Disney and interesting to see if other companies attempt to leverage their strengths in a similar fashion in the future.

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2 Responses to Disney Magic, Star Wars Style

  1. Matthew Covert says:

    Star Wars did a lot of work with local retailers to provide them with the newest merchandise for collectors. They even had it called ‘Force Friday,’ a sort of informal event coordinated between major retailers and Disney.
    I actually attended Force Friday to see the madness and it was really well coordinated and the fans responded well.
    Also the launch of the Battlefront video game significantly helps the movie promotion. I think that they have done a great job of cross platform promotion.

  2. Erin Mondt says:

    Even though I am personally not a Star Wars fan, I thought this marketing campaign was brilliant. I find it very beneficial for Disney to combine with the Star Wars franchise and ESPN. The fact that they were able to air the trailer during the halftime of a Monday Night Football game got fans even more excited about the upcoming release. Also, the majority of people who were watching the game were most likely under the demographic of middle-aged men, very similar to the target demographic of Star Wars. Disney simply took advantage of the resources available to them, and gained attention among both football fans and Star Wars fanatics.
    I also work for Sun Devil Licensing, a company that manages ASU apparel and merchandise throughout the university. ASU is starting to sell shirts with Star Wars designs and this seems to be extremely popular among ASU fans. I think it was also very smart for Disney to side with some of the biggest colleges and universities in the country.

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