Creating an experience that turned a brand’s largest promotional effort in decades into a box office smash.
Honestly, this was the most complicated brief any of us had ever read.
GE Profile™ was set to become an official sponsor for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This was, by far, the largest marketing effort in decades by GE Profile. We had been tasked with the challenge to design an experience that needed to be immediately recognizable – based on more than 40 years of iconic, pop culture history – without referencing anything from that past, including beloved characters.
We were able to reference the brand new film, which we were not allowed to watch. I wish this description was an exaggeration. Our design needed to be solely based on a movie that hadn’t premiered, we had limited assets for, and… oh yeah… had to steal the show while being completely hidden from public view day and night, including setup and dismantle. You could say it was more like a zen koan than a marketing brief, if you weren’t the ones responsible for delivering it.
Finally, the first of the two events was scheduled shortly before the official Disney™ announcement so we were warned about security breaches up to and including the possibility of people flying drones to spy on us. Our audience for this experience would be appliance retailers, their excitement and participation in the launch of the Star Wars promotion would be critical.
We started with consistency. We found inspiration while reviewing photos and details from the opening of Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge as well as the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago. What would the audience recognize that was a constant throughout all eight, soon to be nine, episodes? The answer: The Millennium Falcon. What a perfect way to transport visitors from the show floor to the world of Star Wars.
In addition to the design of the Millennium Falcon, we created an atmosphere of mystery and whimsy by distributing VIP passes. We touched on as many senses as possible. Ushers in turn of the century costumes took tickets and escorted viewers into the lobby while the Star Wars theme played throughout. Guests received fresh popcorn from an old-fashioned popcorn machine. We completely immersed visitors into the experience by showing special, unreleased footage of the new movie in surround sound. They were among the first to see the new trailer. To top it all off, we provided a sweet treat. Blue Milk! A special nod to the fans of Episode IV.
This memorable event exceeded in the goal of transporting attendees to another galaxy far, far away. It also exceeded the metrics for the event. Like all trade shows, GE Profile was competing for attendees time and attention; some of the toughest competition for GE Profile came from the neighboring GE brands: Monogram and Café both had chefs preparing and serving free gourmet meals right next door. Our metrics centered on visitor engagement. We need to increase average visitor time inside GE Profile by 50%, and increase attendee traffic by 25%.
Increased Visitor Time