Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You

Star Wars Day on May 4th offers a great opportunity for marketers to learn from one of the most successful entertainment franchises in history. From its creative content to its innovative brand strategy – Star Wars has left a lasting impact on marketing.

In this week’s blog, we’re reflecting on the franchise’s impact and success. What are the origins of this “galaxy far, far away”? And what is the business model that drives its ever-growing value?

The force awakens

Created by George Lucas in 1977, Star Wars quickly became a cultural phenomenon. In 2020, the franchise was estimated to be worth around $70 billion, ranking fifth among the highest-grossing media franchises. Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 gave the franchise even more resources to expand – Star Wars now includes nine main films spread across three trilogies, all centred around the Skywalker saga. There are also two spin off films; Rogue One and Solo.

Building a marketing empire

The original film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, changed movie marketing forever. George Lucas, after his success with American Graffiti, had the idea to create a Western-style adventure set in space. Despite several rejections, Alan Ladd Jr. at 20th Century Fox backed Lucas. In exchange for a smaller directing fee, Lucas retained licensing and merchandising rights – not because he knew it would make him rich (although it did), but because he wanted to control his vision.

During the arduous production of Star Wars, studio executives were incredibly sceptical of Lucas’ somewhat bizarre amalgamation of science fiction and fantasy. Desperate to prove the naysayers wrong, the filmmaker vowed Star Wars would be a success. George Lucas aimed to achieve this through a multichannel marketing campaign driven by comic books, action figures and other collectibles.

Lucas sold toy licensing rights to Kenner (a division of General Foods) for a flat fee of $100,000, not realising the massive demand Star Wars would create. Decades later, the success of the movies and its merchandise has driven sales of over $20 billion for the Lucasfilm empire – cementing Star Wars as a powerful global brand.

May the 4th be with you

A play on the iconic quote “may the force be with you”, May 4th has become a global day of celebration for Star Wars fans. The phrase made its debut in 1979 when the UK Conservative Party used it in a newspaper ad to celebrate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s electoral win, stating: “May the fourth be with you, Maggie, congratulations.”

Over the years, brands have embraced Star Wars Day with special promotions, merchandise and social media campaigns. Companies like Nissan, Frappuccino, Hootsuite and Windows have joined the festivities with themed products and social media posts.


Star Wars Day shows us that a powerful story, coupled with clever marketing, can create a lasting legacy. If you’re a business looking to build your own empire, you need a partner who understands the value of creativity and strategy. This is where Cordis comes in.

Like the Rebel Alliance, we’re a tight-knit team that’s ready to take on the Galactic Empire (or your industry’s biggest competitors). We harness the power of storytelling, content creation and strategic planning to help you achieve victory in your marketing campaigns.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new product or revamp your brand’s image, let Cordis Creative navigate the galaxy of marketing with the wisdom of Yoda and the courage of Luke Skywalker.

May the 4th be with you, always!