A stock media company is paying homage to the new Star Wars movie with a series of ads featuring characters from the sci-fi series competing in a faux election to rule the galaxy.
New York-based Pond5, which offers video and audio licensing to advertisers and news producers (and fake presidential candidates), is behind the effort, which launched last week. Five clips promote the candidates, and play on go-to political advertising tropes and even mimic a few iconic commercials from presidential elections past.
• Chewbacca and Han Solo, running together, echo Hillary Clinton's infamous fear-mongering "3 a.m." commercial from the 2008 election.
• In this one, Darth Vader is likened to Ronald Reagan in a propagandistic, fascist take on the rah-rah classic "Morning in America" from the 1984 race.
• The spots also go out of their way to weave in references to the classic trilogy. "These are the droids you're looking for," reads the tagline for C-3PO and R2-D2—a groan-inducing nod to Obi-Wan Kenobi dialog that will nonetheless tickle fans.
• Diehards may still quibble over details. For example, Lando Calrissian, running alongside Princess Leia Organa in the spot below, is not set to appear in the upcoming release (though one of the franchise writers, Lawrence Kasdan, hinted that the character will appear in future features).
• It's also unclear why Ewoks and Jawas are allied, apart from their similarly short stature, or why the latter—technologically savvy scavengers from a desert planet—are grouped in a "Green Party" with tribalistic teddy bears who hunt with spears and swing from vines in the forest. (The Jawas don't even appear anywhere in the ad, but it's also reasonable to assume Ewoks can't win anything on their own.)
Overall, there are enough clever ideas in the scripts to keep them amusing. That they rely heavily on stock footage—which of course is what makes this a big ad for Pond5—makes the work feel choppy, but that actually lends authenticity to the effort to model political ads, which are not the most graceful genre.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due in theaters Dec. 18. Pond5's voting campaign runs through January. Never mind who you vote for, it's obvious who'll win in the end—the movie's money men, whether or not it's any good.