Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't feel like it's in galaxy far, far away anymore. Maybe that's because it opens in theaters Friday, or because Disney has partnered with a number of brands that are inundating consumers with ads and products that capitalize on the movie's fandom right here in the Milky Way.
"Disney is setting a new bar for co-branded TV advertising," said Sean Muller, CEO of iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ads in real time. "There are over 60 ads promoting the movie in some way, and that's before we consider in-program integrations across its network footprint."
At least 19 brands, including Duracell, General Mills, Campbell's, Verizon, Kraft and CoverGirl, are running tie-ins for the film.
The co-branded spots have generated an extra $63.8 million in television ad revenue for the film, according to iSpot.tv data. And of that, Muller said, $8.4 million can be "attributed to strategic spots where brands such as Verizon and Subway are featured in TV ads on ESPN, ABC, ABC Family, Disney, Disney XD and Univision that promote both the TV network and the movie."
We've recently seen similar co-branding efforts with animated films like Minions—Universal spent roughly $25 million on such promotions, according to iSpot.tv data. But Disney's latest push with The Force Awakens is on another level.
Buying power plays into it, as fans of the franchise are 9 percent more likely than the average American to be part of households with $70,000 or more in annual income, according to Nielsen data.
An added bonus is that Star Wars fans are 17 percent more likely to be Gen Xers than the average American and tend to be part of households with kids under 18, according to Nielsen. Their love of the franchise doesn't stop with them: They are passing it on to their kids.
Considering that consumers may feel bombarded by this level of advertising, Ace Metrix, which measures the impact of video advertising, dug into the co-branded spots to find which ones cut through the clutter. HP's ad featuring R2-D2 came out on top, reaching a likability score of 722, while Duracell's landed right behind it with a likability score of 720.
Brands across various categories, from computer hardware to video games to fast-food restaurants, ranked highly, according to Ace Metrix's data.
Check out the top 10 co-branded spots from highest to lowest:
3. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
5. Toys R Us
6. EA Video Games