A long time ago, in a childhood that feels far, far away, I was a Star Wars nut. I was amongst the second generation of fans to be swept up in the space opera, and I am not the last. New and old fans, retailers, and LucasFilm, gear up for another push into that galaxy far, far away.
One such retailer looking to make a splash in the online world is Target. They have started a multi-platform marketing campaign around the new Star Wars movies that incorporates:
- Video marketing
- Content Marketing via user generated content
- Hashtag Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
This article is going to look at each facet of the campaign so that you can better understand how a multi-platform digital marketing campaign works.
Target’s #ShareTheForce marketing campaign
The video marketing which started it all
For most people, the #ShareTheForce campaign comes down to a video. They shot and edited the video with the intent of pulling nostalgic emotions from viewers, and they succeed. Best of all, they don’t succeed in any sort of overt way. They just show you people having fun with Star Wars:
As far as online video goes, you can’t do much better than taking a mega-popular piece of pop culture and combine it with cute kids, a few laughs, and dazzling special effects.
To start looking at the video critically, Target start setting up their entire online campaign around this one piece of content. Right from the start you know the video is called ‘Share the Force.’ When you design an online marketing campaign you need one idea, one thought, that people learn and remember. Share the Force.
From there they show what the video, and the campaign, is all about: You. Your reactions. Your memories. Your joy. Your surprise. Sure, there are a few cuts of Star Wars footage cut in, but the bulk of the video features ordinary people in their homes, playing outside, and watching in theatres. This is what the entire campaign is about as you explore it further, which we’ll do in the next section.
One point I want to make before I move on is a failure in their video marketing. This video is bound to get many shares and views from people who don’t know Target has a YouTube channel. In my opinion, they should have included a visual call to action for subscribers at the end of the video. This tactic will take a one-off watch of one of their videos and possible turn that person into a lifelong viewer. Don’t miss this opportunity yourself if your video goes viral.
Content marketing via a dedicated website for user-generated content
At the end of the video you see an advertisement for a website: www.SharetheForce.com. There is also a clickable link in the video description that will take you there. This is where the campaign hits its first major snag. The website can only be viewed properly with Firefox and Chrome based browsers. Which is not ideal for me as I, and many others I’m sure, only use Opera and Safari.
After downloading Chrome I visited the website. It was incredibly code heavy and took some time to load, and took up a lot of processing power. It had music and moving images on a full screen layout, don’t expect this to run like a traditional site.
The point of the site is to add yourself to the ‘galaxy’ of Star Wars. You choose your favourite character, add your name and social network, and you’re given coordinate that mark your place. Here are mine:
I am now forever in Luke Skywalker’s hair. Ok. I felt that they could have taken this a step further and allowed a character limited message, like: “My favorite Star Wars memory is when I cut my high school senior prom to watch Episode 1 for the 5th time with my friend Dan.” That was the last connection this needed and missed out on. Adding the image is cool, but I’m one for words.
Social Media and hashtag marketing
The real point of the website is to connect to social media and get some user-generated content going. You’ll also see that the second most prominent part of the video description is the hashtag #ShareTheForce. This is part of their goal of creating one memorable idea for fans to remember, while also allowing fans to connect their stories on social media.
Let’s take a look at what they’ve done with the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. Their trending tweet on Twitter:
— Target (@Target) August 26, 2015
Random fans tweeting out the survey, prompting more surveys to be taken and more people to join the collection of memories:
— Fresh Prince™ (@cmurphy2423) August 27, 2015
The hashtag can also be found on Facebook making many small discussions happen:
It’s the thousands of small conversations happening that make this hashtag campaign worthwhile. You don’t see them unless you’re looking, but they are the word of mouth that really matters, and that can wonders for your brand’s social proof.
Multi-platform marketing from social media to video marketing
A brand like Target has a big team of marketers working up their entire online marketing campaigns. You don’t need this. All you need is:
- One idea that you want everyone who discovers your marketing campaign to remember.
- A video which ties to everything you’re doing.
- A custom website, or just a custom space on your current website, to focus the attention of the campaign.
- A hashtag that is completely unique and memorable. It is preferable if the hashtag is directly connected to the one thing you want people to remember.
- Direct incorporation of sharing user generated socially in the campaign.
I’d start from the top of this list and work down until you have the perfect multi-platform marketing campaign ready. You can find some success with campaigns that exist on one platform alone ,but nothing will create an entire online experience and brand story like one which takes your fans across multiple platforms.
Matthew writes about social media and online marketing related topics on the Devumi.com Blog. You can find him there every Friday with advice on how to get YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers, Instagram content ideas, and everything else social media related.