May the Fourth for Star Wars fans is the biggest day of the year—it’s a celebration of the Star Wars universe. This historic day amongst fans has also given birth to some of the most notable PR campaigns that “Used The Force” the past few years.
As a PR pro these campaigns provide practical insight that can help take your PR career to the next level. Without further ado let’s check them out and May the Fourth Be With You!
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Star Wars is born, becoming a pop culture phenomenon that lives in the hearts and minds of its devoted fans. From the moment the galaxy’s deadliest Imperial agent Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers capture Princess Leia from the Rebellion, the battle between light and darkness commenced. Forty years later, Star Wars is still one of the most successful film franchises of all time.
Just like Star Wars, there have been some pretty epic PR campaigns where PR pros have used The Force, making an undeniable impact on the world around them. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable efforts that you can take away to your team…May The Force be with you and your PR career!
Red Bull: Stratos Space Jump
Just like in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker hears the ghastly news that Darth Vader is his father and uses The Force to dive perfectly into space, Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier falling 23 miles from the Earth’s stratosphere in 2012. Red Bull came up with, produced, and filmed the event. It gained worldwide attention with eight million live views on YouTube.
Takeaway: Take the leap in your PR career this year by pulling a Red Bull–out-of-the-box and out of this world ideas will ensure you stay ahead of the curve.
After the Rebel Alliance and Ewoks join forces to destroy the shield generator, so the space fleet can destroy the Death Star, the Ewoks get their planet back and they dance in celebration. On our planet, Earth Hour started in 2007 with over two million people turning off all non-essential lights in Sydney. The very next year other famous landmarks like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and Rome’s Coliseum shut off their lights to raise awareness about climate change. In 2015 a record-breaking 172 nations were part of Earth Hour with over 10,000 landmarks participating. Millions of people switched off their lights, and there were over seven million digital interactions for this event.
Takeaway: Try and “think green” when you can…partnering up with environmental organizations not only makes you look good, but you also can help our planet look even better!
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
With all of their enemies defeated, Queen Amidala and Boss Nass declare peace between their races and celebrate the defeat of the Trade Federation. Floats, gigantic inflatable cartoon characters, and marching bands attract thousands of aliens to line the streets–just like in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade! In 2015, 23 million viewers across America watched it from home.
Takeaway: For a PR pro, events and recognition can go a long way. Hosting a webinar on a popular topic showcasing successes can get your brand noticed and help your organization stay relevant.
The Tour de France
In Return of the Jedi Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker battle it out with Stormtroopers on speeder bikes in the midst of their battle with Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader to save the Rebellion and triumph over the Galactic Empire. Earth bikers might not be as speedy, but 100 years ago Henri Desgrange came up with the idea of a bike race around France in order to raise the profile of the newspaper he worked for. It captured everyone’s imagination and doubled his newspaper’s circulation. It’s now broadcast in 188 countries.
Takeaway: It may be tough to come up with a ground-breaking idea that changes the world, but if you research successful campaigns from the past, you can take those ideas and make them your own.
The Blair Witch Project
Even though there’s no witches, it was still pretty darn freaky when Luke Skywalker goes inside the Dagobah Cave. The Blair Witch Projects’ producers created major pre-hype for this low-budget horror flick. They did this by passing around the tape promoting it as “real video diary footage,” which became the first use of “viral content” to build hype. The buzz was worth it–the movie took over $150 million at the box office.
Takeaway: Even today, guerilla PR can be a major success. Social media is a great channel to go viral. It’s low cost, but when done right, can reach millions of people and generate substantial media coverage.
Nike: Just Do It
Luke doubts his abilities and doesn’t entrust himself into The Force and Yoda’s guidance in The Empire Strikes Back. With Yoda’s devoted training comes one of Star Wars’ most famous quotes, “Do or do not. There is no try.” With this motivation and inspiration, Luke becomes one of the greatest Jedi of all time. Nike’s campaign “Just Do It” fits perfectly with this theme. Coined almost 30 years ago, it increased Nike’s North American domestic sport shoe business from a mere 18% to a whopping 43%.