Hot on the heels of marketing campaigns tied to the premiere of the final Hunger Games movie and the American Music Awards telecast last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has teamed with Disney and Lucasfilm to roll out a global advertising campaign this week co-promoting the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens release and the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat brands.
The spots—one distinct commercial for each of the Fiat Chrysler brands and three for Jeep—promote the automaker’s year-end “Must-See Event of the Year.” And each commercial closes with the tagline, “See Star Wars: The Force Awakens — In Theaters December 18″ in the US.
The Chrysler ad, “First Time,” looks back to 1977 and suggests that “few things feel like the first time you saw Star Wars.”
The Dodge spot, “The Force Gathers,” pays homage to the iconic image of Darth Vader and his army of Stormtroopers with an army of white Dodge Chargers, Challengers and Durangos—all led by a sinister black Dodge Viper—as they march toward nervous valets at the opening of the newest Star Wars film, and set, of course, against the famous “Imperial March” music.
The “Family” spot for Ram uses sound from the movie trailer and actor Mark Hamill’s voice as Luke Skywalker. Ram vehicles power through the desert revealing a Ram 3500, 2500, 1500 and the new Rebel as Hamill says, “There exists an all-powerful force in the universe. It surrounds us. Gives us strength. Turns fear into hope. And to those who seek to harness such power … This is what you’ve been looking for…”
“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 brands,” stated Fiat Chrsyler chief marketing officer Olivier Francois. The tie-up “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 Star Wars music and sound design known around the world.”
Befitting the international appeal of the Star Wars franchise as well as Fiat Chrysler’s increasingly transatlantic business, the 30-second co-branded TV spots were created to run in North America, Argentina and Brazil, with additional spots rolling out throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Each ad includes not only various creative elements from Star Wars: The Force Awakens but also footage of vehicles specific to each country. Dealers in each market will have options for buying local and national air time for the ads. Radio spots and social media extensions will support the promotion.
Lucasfilm announced in August that it would collaborate with the automaker and with six other global brands to promote the hugely anticipated new flick. As a warm-up, Fiat Chrysler displayed a custom-painted Fiat 500e Stormtrooper model at the just-wrapped Los Angeles Auto Show, a concept that was inspired by the armor of the First Order Legion.
And in September, Mattel’s Hot Wheels offered Uber riders in New York City a free ride in a custom-wrapped Dodge Charger uniquely styled after a Stormtrooper to celebrate Force Friday.
Francois and Fiat Chrysler brands got a lot of mileage out of previous movie alignments including Dodge’s partnership with Fast & Furious 7 and various brands with the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2. But if pundits’ predictions about the appeal of the first of a planned series of three sequels to the existing six Star Wars films are even close to target, FCA likely will find that The Force proves to be as great a marketing vehicle as it is a power of the universe.