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December 07, 2015

Twelve quirkiest items in the ‘Star Wars’ marketing onslaught

'The Force Awakens' to a marketing firm’s dream come true, but some odd items are available for purchase

Star Wars Business
Star Wars Products Photoshop by Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Several products with ties to the latest 'Star Wars' movie superimposed over the opening scenes of "A New Hope.'

One of my most traumatic* childhood experiences came when I was around 10 years old. My friend Keith and I got in trouble for some roughhousing at a local business. Lo and behold, when my mom picked me up that night, she was in the ground-me know.

Me acting up wasn’t all that unusual, but this time, it stung. In fact, it cost me the chance to head to the Clover store on Cuthbert Boulevard and add to my already gargantuan stockpile of "Star Wars" action figures. (What was lost that fateful day was the chance to procure Lando Calrissian, Cloud City version).

This is not merely a cautionary tale for the kids out there; it’s an attempt to establish my bona fides as a sucker-born-every-minute "Star Wars" marketing victim/expert (to the point of hosting a “Star Wars” Quizzo night in East Falls next week.)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of a new "Star Wars" marketing onslaught in recent days, weeks and months. It transcends the action figures of old, though, into commercial omnipresence.

From perpetual TV ads to perfect product-placement whilst walking in malls and supermarkets, "Star Wars" is everywhere to the point where my son has transformed the Hickey Home into an homage to a BB-8 droid that he hasn’t even seen in a movie yet.

After a $70-plus BB-8 binge at the City Avenue Target, I started searching high and low for the quirkiest "Star Wars"-related products out there in the American universe.

These 12 rose to the top of my list, but there are so very many more that I invite you to add them in the comments section if you’re so inclined.

1. The Darth Vader Toaster This $49.99 jawn from Bed, Bath & Beyond “imprints the Star Wars logo on every slice” of toast, English muffin, bagel or related fare. Breakfast, the most important meal of the day even for the Jedi.

2. Crocband™ Star Wars™ Chewbacca™ Fuzz Lined Clog Caveat: I’d never endorse wearing Crocs. But if you had to wear them, the $69.99 homage to Han Solo’s co-pilot is as close to acceptable as Crocs come.

3, R2-D2 USB Car Charger Mobile phones are always running out of battery charge, amirite? Let the droid who reunited Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi cohorts keep you in contact with everybody for a mere $39.99.

4. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Star Wars Shapes In and of itself, mac-and-cheese is Top 10 eat-stuff known to mortal man. Now, you can eat cheesy mac created to look like “all your favorite Star Wars characters.” No caloric estimate on a Jabba the Hutt bowl, though, so don't go all Sarlacc pit on 'em.

5. Nestle Coffee Creamers. C-3PO adorns Nestle’s Hazelnut creamer while R2-D2, Boba Fett and Darth Vader represent French Vanilla, Sweet Italian Cream and Espresso Chocolate respectively. Yo, the packaging looks v. cool.

6. Star Wars Kylo Ren Heat Change Mug and Pint Glass. You like to know the temperature of the things you drink, right? Well, the newest "Star Wars" villain's lightsaber on your drinking glass alerts you whether it’s room temperature or, when lit, really hot. It costs $11.99 and up.

7. Star Wars rings, necklaces, charms and more. Every kiss begins with “Kenobi,” especially for those who appreciate 10K yellow gold Darth Vader rings, Imperial-Crest stainless steel bracelets, 10K yellow-gold Stormtrooper necklaces and C-3PO earrings. Prices vary.

8. Star Wars™ Duck Tape® Brand Duct Tape. Duct tape – a fix-the-world product which comes through in a variety of pinches – now features the visages of Yoda, Stormtroopers, droids and more in a specially licensed roll that runs $7.99.

9. HP Star Wars Special Edition 15-Inch 1TB Notebook Laptop. Reads the Kohl’s description of this $699.99 product, “Have the Force on your side as you work or play on this HP Star Wars Special Edition notebook laptop.” If you’re gonna nerd out, really, really nerd out.

10. Star Wars Chewie Jacket. If you go on JCPenney’s website, it seems as if this Wookie-inspired product is no longer available – read: they sold out on Black Friday – but there’s a pricey faux-fur one on eBay.

11. Covergirl’s STAR WARS Makeup Collection: Stephen Colbert riffed on this aspect of the force’s omnipresence in our community, and for good reason. 

The cosmetics company offers Dark Side Mascara ($6.85), Outlast Nail Polish ($5.49), Coloricious Lipstick ($6.99) and waterproof Light Side Mascara ($6.85). Also in the mix: "Nemisis," Mutant," "Speed of Light" and "Red Revenger" lipsticks, mascara and nail polishes. Perfect stocking stuffers for the Leia-friendly ladies of the world!

12. Devon Star Wars Watch. This limited-edition offering is explained thusly by the watchmaker: “Using technology taken from the cockpits of modern airliners, Devon created a system of four microstep motors powered by a hybrid electro-mechanical source, along with an optical recognition system that tells time more precisely than any purely mechanical watch made today.” Another way to describe it is this: Ex-pen-sive, what with its $28,500 price tag.

*It was only traumatic for a few days; once I was sufficiently repentant after a few days.