May the Fourth Be With You

Today on May 4th, Star Wars fans worldwide celebrate this unofficial holiday by cherishing all things Star Wars. The now famous “holiday” originated in 1979 with a half-page ad in the London Evening News congratulating Margaret Thatcher on becoming the first female prime minister on this day thirty-six years ago.

Over the years, advertisers have latched onto the famed franchise to promote their brands. And it’s because it works. The Star War films are so ingrained in people’s memories – often from childhood – that they often trigger nostalgic feelings.  Advertisers have caught on and learned that ads and online videos referencing Star Wars can elicit intense emotional responses in their viewers (even just from showing an image of Darth Vader or hearing the iconic theme song).

Advertisers have caught on and learned that ads and online videos referencing Star Wars can elicit intense emotional responses in their viewers (even just from showing an image of Darth Vader or hearing the iconic theme song).

And triggering intense emotions is one of the most important ways to get a brand’s message shared online and can actually lead to increased sales, purchase intent and memorability. According to Unruly ShareRank data, around 70% of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were very likely to buy the product. Dr. Karen Nelson-Field has related research showing that videos that evoking strong emotions are also twice as likely to be shared (than those that elicit a weak emotional response).

Here at Unruly we compiled a Star Wars Viral Video Chart and surprisingly saw Volkswagen’s “The Force” is beating out any of the trailers for the upcoming movies – proving the staying power of a strong ad and the power of zeitgeist  as a social motivation that can inspire rounds of sharing. From our own research on the subject, we’ve found that movie trailers are the fastest shared online advertising content, usually so viewers can be social in real life and start a conversation about a shared passion, and still the new trailers are topped by a classic ad.

So lets get to the videos, enjoy! And may the fourth be with you.

1. The Force: Volkswagen Commercial – 5.3 million shares

2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2015) – J.J. Abrams Movie HD – 1.07 million shares 

3. The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial Teaser (SINGING DOGS!) – 899,970 shares

4. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away – 721,020 shares

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…Watch the second UK teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens – in cinemas everywhere 18 December, 2015.

Posted by Star Wars on Thursday, April 16, 2015

5. The Dog Strikes Back: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial (TV edition) – 319,313 shares