CAMPAIGNS: JUDGE AND JURY - Overhyped Star Wars encounter will leave public feeling unfulfilled

Of course the latest Star Wars movie will be a mammoth hit, says Geoff Glendenning, managing partner of Third Planet Marketing. The only problem is that the hype will make us even more cynical and difficult to please in future.

Of course the latest Star Wars movie will be a mammoth hit, says

Geoff Glendenning, managing partner of Third Planet Marketing. The only

problem is that the hype will make us even more cynical and difficult to

please in future.



There is no doubt that The Phantom Menace will sell out. Speaking as a

bit of a Star Wars fan, a father and someone who works in marketing, I’d

say it sold out months ago.



On paper this film, and all the hype that goes with it, will be a

textbook example of successful marketing on a Biblical scale. However,

on a more subtle note, I believe that this level of massive marketing

hype can also have negative implications.



The main problem I have with the movie’s build-up is that our industry

never seems to know when it has done enough.



We should be on the quest to find the minimum amount of coverage to gain

the maximum exposure.



Unfortunately, our industry is mostly held accountable by the quantity

of coverage it drums up, not by the quality.



When you combine the PR campaigns of every company or individual

associated with the film and an over-populated media industry fighting

to fill pages and airtime, there comes a moment when Captain Hype can

find him or herself unconscious in the driving seat of a runaway media

express.



The first sign is when you can’t take your kids to the supermarket

anymore without them getting hysterical because you refuse to buy them

every product with a Star Wars promotion. The second sign is when the PR

machine has worked so hard that it hits the bottom of the quality story

barrel.



We know why it has gone this far. It’s because Hollywood doesn’t just

want to make movies, it wants to make a fortune. The hype isn’t for the

film, it’s so that they can sell more toys, accessories and

cross-promotions than ever before.



The trouble is that, particularly in the UK, consumers have spent the

past ten years becoming media literate and cynical. This means that they

can get turned off if you ram a message too far down their throats. If

the product fails to live up to the hype, then the short-term effect is

that people will become over-critical. The long-term effect is that the

consumer gets wiser and our jobs get harder.



Does George Lucas care? Of course he doesn’t. After all, we’ll still go

and see it - and the next one. We just won’t enjoy it as much as we

would do if we knew less about it, if its imagery didn’t make an

appearance in almost every aspect of our lives - and if we hadn’t seen

all the best bits already.



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