Burger King Begins ‘Star Wars’ Promo

ATLANTA Burger King will launch a six-week promotion tied to the release of the new Star Wars movie with a 15-second television spot on tonight’s episode of American Idol, the company said.

The ad is the first of 10 that have been produced to promote the hamburger chain’s association with Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which opens in theaters May 19. The spots will run on broadcast and cable networks for the next six weeks.

The eight general-market television ads in the campaign were created and produced by MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami. The two ads for children were created and produced by Interpublic Group’s Campbell Mithun in Chicago.

The campaign includes print ads that began running last week in People and Entertainment Weekly magazines and a Web site that is scheduled to be launched “very soon,” said Brian Gies, vice president of marketing impact for Burger King.

In-store promotions include nine-foot tall inflatable images of Darth Vader that will be installed on the roofs of most of the company’s more than 11,000 stores worldwide for the six weeks of the promotion.

Burger King also plans to sell special Star Wars kids meals that contain toys and action figures related to the movie series and give customers a scratch-off game piece with each purchase. Every game piece wins a prize, but one of them is worth $1 million.

The Miami-based chain has tied its marketing to the Star Wars films since the first one was introduced in 1977. The company produced collectible drinking glasses for each of the movies, but this is the first time it has extended the promotion globally.

Star Wars is a brand recognized by people of all ages from around the world and the global release of Revenge of the Sith on May 19 presented a unique opportunity for us to bring the thrill of Star Wars to Burger King restaurants worldwide,” said Russ Klein, the company’s chief marketing officer. “We’re sure the promotion will create a lot of excitement among our customers.”

Spending on the campaign was not disclosed.