Star Wars Blurs With Reality in This Compelling Ad About a Daughter and Father

215 McCann brings Jedi: Fallen Empire into the real world

In 'Become a Jedi,' we see how a girl's imagination transforms the world around her father's workplace. Microsoft
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Some narrative ads imply a lot more than they directly tell, which can be a creative risk when you’ve only got a minute or so to craft an entire story. Agency 215 McCann walks that line through a combination of craft and compelling characters with its “Become a Jedi” spot for the newest Star Wars video game.

The ad, created for the Xbox One edition of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, begins with a young woman approaching an industrial site via abandoned railroad tracks, and as she nears, conflict seems inevitable. Soon the worlds of fantasy and reality are blurred as we see the world around her through the lens of her imagination.

Before we spoil anything, though, let’s take a look at the full spot:


There’s a lot going unsaid in the ad, such as the specifics of her relationship with her father. Are they close-knit? Grown apart?  Obviously she seems to come around his work space often enough to know his crew well, but there’s an implication that he’s reluctant to join the fun himself. Is mom still in the picture, or does his expression, coupled with the photos on the wall, hint at something more tragic?

In some cases, such gaps in the overt storytelling could detract from your ability to enjoy the ad, but at its core, it’s a heartwarming scenario that’s easy to follow regardless of the backstory.

“The central premise of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is based on the iconic hero’s journey of becoming a Jedi,” says says Charlie Hauser, global brand director for game developer Respawn. “That journey—fraught with danger, suspense, whimsical humor, and wonder—was our north star for marketing. We wanted to bring that fantasy to life with a live-action spot which indulges every Star War fan’s childhood dreams of swinging a lightsaber and harnessing the power of the Force.”

The spot made its debut today during Microsoft’s X019 event in London, with the video being livestreamed to an audience estimated in the millions.

The ad also hints at some specific aspects of the Fallen Order game, which launches Friday. The small droid is BD-1, a faithful sidekick in the video game, while the imaginary world around our hero is the game’s setting, the planet Bracca. In the closing moments, we see the game’s antagonist, Second Sister, and her Purge Troopers.

Of course, this isn’t the first Star Wars ad to take the approach of blending the real and fictional worlds.

In 2015, Duracell and agency Anomaly created a stellar spot about Christmas morning in the minds of two light saber-wielding siblings. And BBH New York knocked the concept out of the park in 2017 with its spot about a lifelong rivalry between young neighbors for the game Star Wars Battlefront II.

“Become a Jedi” is a worthy addition to this sub-genre of advertising, though there’s admittedly one big disconnect between the ad’s concept of shared play—culminating in the girl’s father arriving to participate—and the fact that Fallen Order doesn’t actually have multiplayer gameplay.

So while the ad appears to be a celebration of playing together, it’s actually promoting a very solo gaming experience. But hey, maybe dad will at least tag out parallel save games with her. Either way, it’s nice to see that he’s there to support her interests, and even nicer that his coworkers are willing to let her wipe the floor with them.

CREDITS:

Brand: Xbox ft. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Creative title: “Become a Jedi”
Client: Microsoft Xbox / Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment / Lucasfilm Ltd.

Client: Microsoft / Xbox
Xbox, General Manager, Integrated Marketing: Rob Matthews
Xbox, General Manager, Brands and Advertising: Taylor Smith
Xbox, Director, Brand and Integrated Marketing: Craig McNary
Xbox, Sr. Integrated Marketing Manager: Josh Munsee
Xbox, Sr. Marketing Manager, 3rd Party Games: Kathy Richardson
Xbox, Marketing Manager, 3rd Party Games: Michelle Fears
Xbox, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Hardware: Theresa Van Den Boogaard

Client: EA / Respawn
EA, CMO, Marketing Publishing and Analytics: Chris Bruzzo
EA, SVP, Global Brand Management: Jason Bunge
EA, Sr. Director, Global Brand Marketing: Arturo Castro
EA, Director, Global Brand Marketing: Charlie Hauser
EA, SVP, Marcom & CMO Managing Director: David Tinson
EA, VP, Marcom Strategy: Charles Kha
EA, Creative Director: Neel Upadhye
EA, Sr. Director, Marcom Production: Angelo Ferrugia
EA, Sr. Manager, Production: Margaret Meo
EA, Lead Video Producer: Christopher Beckett
EA, Sr. Manager, Marcom Strategy: Alexandre Scriabine
EA, VP, Marcom Activation: Stuart Lang
EA, Executive Assistant: Jovanna Piazza
EA, Sr. Director, Global Activation: Andrew Wong
EA, Director, Global Activation: Angela Sun
EA, Global Activation Lead: Joe Gatdula
EA, Global Activation Associate: Clay Bradshaw
Respawn, Head of Respawn: Vince Zampella
Respawn, COO: Dusty Welch
Respawn, Game Director: Stig Asmussen
Respawn, Sr. Producer: Kasumi Shishido
Respawn, Producer: Jordan Klein

Client: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lucasfilm Ltd., Director, Brand Marketing: Matt Shell
Lucasfilm Ltd., Manager, Brand Marketing: Anthony Rodriguez
Agency: 215 McCann
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Duchon
Creative Director: Nichole Geddes
Sr. Copywriter: Gabe Sherman
Sr. Art Director: Shawn Raissi
Director of Integrated Production: Mandi Holdorf
Sr. Producer: Gabby Gardner
Producer: Christina Chin
Director of Business Affairs: Mary Beth Barney
Business Director: Peter Goldstein
Management Supervisor: Devina Hardatt
Account Supervisor: Harold McKeon
Assistant Account Executive: Paige Kane
Director of Strategy: Brian Wakabayashi
Strategy Director: Cassidy Wilber
Strategist: Christian Stewart

Production Company: Reset Content
Director: Garth Davis
Managing Director: Dave Morrison
Executive Producer: Deannie O’Neil
Executive Producer: Jen Beitler
Head of Production: JP Colombo
Line Producer: Megan Moore
Director of Photography: Matthew Libatique
Production Designer: Jay Pooley
Make-Up: Christine Kohut
Costume Designer: Adelle Gaudet
Stunt Coordinator: Tom Struthers

Editorial: Cartel Edit
Editor: Leo Scott
Cutting Assistant: Matt Berardi
Assistant Editor: Collen McKay
Executive Producer: Lauren Bleiweiss
Producer: Samantha Axelrod

Music Composition:
Composer: Blake Robinson
Mixing: Steve Kaplan
Orchestration: Gordy Haab and Carl Rydlund

Audio Mix & Sound Design: Skywalker Sound
Sound Designer / Re-Recording Mixer: Steve Boeddeker
Foley Artist: Jana Vance
Foley Mixer: Frank Rinella
Engineering Services: Dusty Jermier
Digital Editorial Support: Ivan Piesh
Post-Production Sound Accountant: Renée Russo
Post-Production Finance Manager: Mike Peters
Client Services: Eva Porter
Scheduling: Carrie Perry
Director of Production: Jon Null
Head of Engineering: Steve Morris
Head of Production: Jon Null
General Manager: Josh Lowden

VFX: Industrial Light & Magic
Post VFX Supervisor: Sherry Hitch
Onset VFX Supervisor: Jonathan Rothbart
VFX Associate Producer: Yimi Tong
VFX Editor: Jenni O’Byrne
CG Supervisor: Leandro Estebecorena
Executive Producer: Jill Brooks

Animation Supervisor:
Delio Tramontozzi

Animators:
Philip Barnard
Dave Logan
Nathan Thomas

Creature TD:
John Niforos

Layout Supervisor:
Marla Newall

Layout Artists:
Janice Chan
Melissa Mullin
Gurpreet Pannu
Luke Spence Byrd
Xiaoxuan Sun

Particle TDs:
Thomas Bevan
Mihai Cioroba

Lead Generalist – Environments:
Shane Roberts

Generalists – Environments:
Kevin Page
Adam Watkins

Lighting TDs:
Kevin Reuter
Yegor Swarovski

Compositors:
Tigran Badalyan
Michael Conte
Larkin Flynn
Ravi Kasumarthy
YunJung Ko
Alison Lake
Michael Ranalletta
Ronnie Williams Jr.

Digital Paint & Roto Supervisor:
Michael Van Eps

Digital Paint & Roto Artists:
Beth D’Amato
Robert Dorris
Katie Morris

Model/Texture Artists:
Mark Keetch
Mark Marcin

Associate Pipeline TD:
Katherine Sanchez

Coordinators:
Rebecca Norton
Andrew Martin
Lane Howard
Yegor Tesler

Production Assistant:
Jessica Tong

Finishing: Lucasfilm / Lucas Video Production
Producer / Sr Manager, Creative Content & Commercial Production: Trisha Brunner
Sr Manager, Technical Operations & Video Asset Management: Kevin Parker
Colorist: Sean Wells
Online Editor: Amir Hosseinzadeh
Coordinator: Janet Lee
Production Assistant: Rene Castro


@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
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