Last Friday, December 19, the latest film in the Star Wars franchise was released in theatres, earning over $200 million in the United States within its first six days alone. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is the second Star Wars movie created under Disney, who has capitalized on the saga’s massive fan base both old and new, with partnerships and promotions around every corner.
With Rogue One, one strategic partnership in particular seems almost too perfect. The Rogue has been a part of Nissan’s vehicle lineup since 2008, and continues to rise as one of the manufacturer’s most popular models. That alone makes for an interesting connection to a film with the same name.
Timing of the release of both the movie and Nissan’s 2017 lineup were also close, as are the target markets for the Rogue and Rogue One. Sports Utility Vehicles are typically marketed to families with children who require a safe and reliable mode of transportation, while a great number of Star Wars fans enjoyed the original films as children or young adults, and are now re-living them with their own families.
As we’ve written in the past, the best strategic partnerships come from brands that are similar and can easily complement one another throughout the partnership. These similarities between the Rogue and Rogue One are what brought Nissan and Disney together, but it doesn’t stop there. The partners created a powerful set of advertisements featuring visuals from the movie and the 2017 Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition, a direct by-product of the partnership.
Not only did the initial engagement of a partnership between Nissan and Disney for Rogue One seem picture perfect, but what they’ve done together also comes naturally. Take a film studio and a vehicle manufacturer, and create a new vehicle to be shown in short film-like commercials. There’s no stretching this idea in order for it to fit – it just makes sense.
We know that the most important factor in a strategic partnership is that both parties need to benefit through the production of added value. So how are both Disney and Nissan receiving value from the creation of the Limited Edition Rogue and its advertisements? For Nissan, the brand gains attention from die-hard Star Wars fans that may not have previously been Nissan drivers, and cultivates massive interest in its exclusive product (only 5,400 models were manufactured for North America).
For Disney, who is already gaining tremendous value through the film franchise alone, the new viewers who were Nissan fans before they were Star Wars fans may not be quite as plentiful. That being said, the entertainment giant benefits beyond the financial contribution that Nissan is making to access the Rogue One brand. Consumers will credit Disney with delivering relevance beyond the film and traditional retail extensions.
Ultimately, the 2017 Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition, with its black or white finishes, Star Wars logos throughout, LED illumination, and full-size replica Death Trooper helmet, is the product of one of the most perfectly-executed strategic partnerships between a brand and a film franchise to date. All brands should consider what makes sense for their partnership holistically, in order to produce the best consumer products, marketing campaigns, and value creation possible.