Watch: FCA taps force with 7 new ‘Star Wars’ ads – Detroit Free Press
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles began rolling out seven new Star Wars-themed YouTube commercials tonight in a partnership with Disney and Lucasfilm that the automaker says is its largest co-promotional partnership with a movie studio or record label in recent history.
The partnership puts all of the automaker’s brands into the same galaxy as what is arguably the most anticipated movie of the past 10 years, Marissa Hunter, director of FCA US brand advertising, told the Free Press.The ads are part of the marketing campaign for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which opens in theaters worldwide on Dec. 18. The latest installment in the George Lucas film saga is expected to break or come close to breaking sales records.
And, while other automakers are in the middle of rolling out traditional year-end holiday blow-out promotional sales events, FCA’s brands will be saturating the airwaves with a unique marketing campaign.
“This is an incredible marketing opportunity,” Hunter said. “We think that we will have an advantage in terms of being able to break through because it will be very different.”
The automaker’s “Star Wars” campaign includes one commercial for its Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and Ram brands and three commercials for Jeep.
The partnership, in the works for more than a year, was challenging for the automaker since the “Star Wars” story takes place in space and relies mostly on spaceships and fighter jets for transportation.
“You are definitely not going to see any of our vehicles in that galaxy far, far away,” Hunter said. “But it was a very fun, creative assignment.”
Hunter said the creative teams at the automaker and Doner Advertising identified common themes found in the Star Wars movies and automaker’s brand images, such as performance, endurance and speed.
The commercial for Dodge, for example, shows a fleet of white Chargers, Challengers and Durangos led by a black Dodge Viper SRT as they drive up to a hotel in a large city.
FCA is not alone with its “Star Wars” marketing partnership. Lucasfilm first announced in August that it was working with FCA and six other companies. Those companies include: CoverGirl & Max Factor, Proctor & Gamble’s Duracell brand, General Mills, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Subway and Verizon Wireless.
“Our partners have all delivered original, stand-out campaigns that capture the familiar fun and excitement of our galaxy far, far away that we hope will delight fans as they get ready to experience ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ ” Lynwen Brennan, general manager of Lucasfilm, said at the time.
Olivier François, the automaker’s chief marketing officer, has made forming partnerships with music stars and Hollywood the hallmark of his tenure at the automaker since he became its chief marketing officer in 2009 following Fiat’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Chrysler.
François made his biggest splash in 2011 when the automaker teamed up with Eminem for the first 2-minute Super Bowl commercial in history in an ad that introduced the tagline “Imported from Detroit.”
Since then, FCA has partnered with music stars and groups that include Fergie, Bob Dylan, Miranda Lambert, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani and X Ambassadors, among others.
In November, FCA partnered with three music labels — Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music — to create three commercials that aired during the American Music Awards.
In the movie industry, FCA’s Dodge brand partnered with Universal Pictures for the movie “Furious 7,” and the Chrysler, Dodge and Ram brands partnered with Lionsgate for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.”
Hunter said the strategy is working.
“It affords you the ability to make a connection with the consumer on another level through a shared celebration of popular culture,” she said. “As long as these opportunities continue to reveal themselves to us … it is something we are going to continue to do.”
Hunter considers the partnership with Disney and Lucasfilm to be the largest co-promotional campaign yet for the automaker because of its global scale. The commercials also will be adapted for global audiences.
The automaker said its Star Wars campaign will target a wide demographic of consumers with the commercials airing throughout the country in prime time, premier NFL and college football programs and programs in all other time slots. Radio spots and social media extensions will augment the television campaign.
“Collaborating with Disney and Lucasfilm on ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ once again provides the opportunity to deliver the unexpected — relevant, entertaining and immediately noticed end-of-the-year Tier 2 commercials,” François said in a statement.
The following is a description of each new ad and links to the ads:
Chrysler: Chrysler’s “First Time” spot is intended to celebrate the awe one feels when experiencing truly momentous occasions in one’s life, ranging from the first viewing of “Star Wars” in 1977 to your first love.
Dodge: An ad called “The Force Gathers” pays homage to the iconic image of Darth Vader and his army of Stormtroopers as an armada of white Dodge Chargers, Challengers and Durangos led by a sinister black Dodge Viper drives up to nervous valets at the red-carpet opening of the newest “Star Wars” film.
Fiat: “Awakening” embodies the classic “Star Wars” theme of the balance between good and evil with black and white Fiat Abarths dueling it out across a desert landscape. A white Fiat Abarth races toward the black one as “Star Wars” sound effects play and the cars continue their duel.
Jeep: In “Shooting Star,” Industrial Light & Magic — a creative firm founded by George Lucas — created footage of a space battle between the rebel alliance and the Imperial forces. A TIE fighter that explodes appears as a shooting star to Jeep passengers who are admiring the starry sky many galaxies away.
Ram: The Ram “Family” is narrated by actor Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) as Ram pickups race across a barren desert landscape.
“There exists an all-powerful force in the universe,” Hamill says. “This is what you have been looking for.”
Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.