It didn’t take long for Unmanned Flying Vehicles (AVF), otherwise known as “drones,” to become a hit on the consumer market. Soon, everyone had a friend or neighbor who owned a drone, and school kids were programming them in elementary schools.
And, with consumer proliferation, comes consumer choice. That means promotional stunts and product placement. Enter Disney and Star Wars, the twin Death Stars of promotional merchandising expertise.
This holiday season, living rooms and yards across the country will become re-enactments of the Battles of Endor or Hoth or the Death Star … or maybe a mashup of all the major space tilts in the Star Wars universe. Because Star Wars battle quad drones have hit the shelves, and these high-flying combat vehicles are flying off as soon as workers can stock them. Popular models include the Speeder Bike, Imperial Tie Fighter, and Rebel X-Wing.
A common concern for novice drone owners is control. Even when playing “Star Wars” people want to know they won’t crash and burn like all those Imperial pilots.
Fortunately, for those not yet one with the Force, Star Wars drones have a “beginner” mode, which helps them maintain altitude so users can learn how to steer. Skywalker level pilots can flip to advanced mode and turn the X-Wings into true aerial acrobats.
The drones can only be operated up to 200 feet away, so no one will reach escape velocity, ion cannon or not. But they do have “laser” cannons that allow them to battle each other in mid-air, at top speeds of 35mph. And yes, the drones have been tested for mid-air collisions, which is bound to happen when a group of novice pilots come together to battle it out high above the back yard.
But a Star Wars-themed product would not be the same without a merchandising tie-in. Enter Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, due in theaters mid-December.
When it comes to Disney and Star Wars, merchandising tie-ins are par for the course. The movie franchises of both companies – now joined – have always been tops in the consumer arena. They know how to grab their consumer market’s attention and hold it for decades. As the movie hits theaters, you can bet there will be a slew of branded stuff landing at toy stores and hobby shops. And more power to them. As with the drones, when you help a fan live the adventure they saw on screen, that’s a winning PR formula.