When marketers think about planning seasonal campaigns, usually holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas come to mind. While those should be a focus, on social media there’s also a great amount of opportunity around less formal holidays that are more playful in tone, and often build around intellectual property. May The Fourth, or the Star Wars pun that launched a thousand brand posts, is an excellent example of this type of event.
44 years after the first movie came out, fan interest in talking about the franchise has only grown and participating in Star Wars Day is an effective way to make your own brand more top-of-mind. Here are brand strategies that were most successful on social media around Star Wars Day this year.
#1. Leverage Library Content
The Big Bang Theory received 30,104 responses on Facebook for a clip of the group trying unsuccessfully to explain the May The Fourth holiday to Penny while The Simpsons got 25,552 responses to an Instagram post showing Ralph Wiggum dressing up as Princess Leia for Inspirational Women Day. If you’re a media brand and have Star Wars related content in the vault, May Fourth is definitely the day to dust it off.
#2. Lead With A Creative Visual
Compelling visuals are never a bad idea, but considering how much of Star Wars is communicated visually, many brands were able to stand out with their May The Fourth content without having to say too much. For example, WWE had 163,869 responses to an Instagram gallery where they edited lightsabers into photos of their wrestlers fighting, Jimmy Kimmel Live received 34,550 responses to an Instagram picture of Yoda and Leia cosplay, and John Deer got 16,737 responses to Instagram concept art showing what the John Deere version of a Tauntaun would look like.
#3. Force A Force Joke
Dating back at least to Mel Brooks proclaiming “May the Schwartz be with you!” in Spaceballs, jokes about “The Force” have been ubiquitous, and Star Wars Day isn’t the context you’d expect restraint. The Muppets had the best performing Force related social media post, getting 33,396 responses on Facebook, with Kermit and Miss Piggy in Star Wars outfits, wishing “May the Farce be with you.” Additionally, Callaway Golf’s Force video post scored 12,212 responses on Instagram, sharing a trick shot and showing that anything that defies explanation can be re-contextualized as a Jedi trick.
The rest of Force related posts that got engagement followed a fairly rigid formula. Accenture got 4,010 responses to an Instagram post showing an Accenture hat with Yoda ears with the explanation “the force is strong with this one” while Avid got 3,366 responses to an Instagram video showing Baby Yoda using The Force to edit on a soundboard. Meanwhile, Shake Shack got 3,179 responses to an Instagram photo of their fries levitating with the caption “The force is strong with this one.” with Buffalo Wild Wings receiving 3,052 responses to a Tweet about their wings explaining that “the sauce is strong with this one”.
#4. Promote The Merchandise
When the first Star Wars movie came out, the only merchandise you could buy around the film were action figures, with Kenner only having to pay $100,000 for the toy making rights. The marketing empire around the franchise has scaled considerably since then.
In a crowded field, Lego had the most successful merchandise related post on Star Wars Day, getting 151,928 responses on Instagram for photos of a set featuring The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. Other merchandise focused posts that performed well included Build-A-Bear getting 4,536 responses to a post showing a Baby Yoda plushy in cap and gown as a suggested graduation gift, and Williams-Sonoma receiving 4,465 responses to an Instagram Gallery showing off their Star Wars collection, such as a Millennium Falcon waffle. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble got 3,640 responses to an Instagram post sharing a pile of Star Wars related books.
#5. Run A Contest
Bribing the audience is a marketing strategy as old as Yoda. GameStop had 43,708 responses on an Instagram post offering a chance to win a Star War prize pack in exchange for leaving Likes and Comments.
#6. Say You’re Making a Star Wars Meme Without Saying It
Slim Jim got 51,037 responses to an Instagram post explaining that they’re not going to “force” a lame ass May Fourth meme because they’re “rebels”. For brands with a more irrelevant tone, there’s enough saturation around brand posts around Star Wars Day and other social media holidays that playfully announcing you won’t be participating is an effective way to stand out.
#7. Curate Content From Others
E! News got 32,631 responses to a Regram of Billie Lourd showing her infant son in a Princess Leia onesie watching his late grandmother in Star Wars. While you’re going to have to compensate the content creator if the repost isn’t being used in a news context, around holidays there are going to be unique takes that are poignant and emotional that can’t come from the voice of a brand. Sometimes amplifying the voices of others on your social channels makes more sense.
Want more advice around planning holiday related campaigns? Either stream our webinar about Competitive Information to Plan Seasonal Campaigns or request a ListenFirst demo today!