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'Star Wars: The Flamethrower': The Genius of the 'Star Wars' Merchandise Market
By: Corinne MacInnes
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From waffle irons to ice cream flavorsmini fridgestumbler sets, and everything in between, Star Wars has appeared in every store from here to Timbuktu. In many cases, the merchandise in question takes a vaguely absurd form, reminiscent of Yogurt’s rant from the parody movie Spaceballs (“Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made.”) The pure vastness in quantity and variety of Star Wars merchandise, themed not only around The Force Awakens but around the pervious six episodes as well, is mind-boggling. Herein lies the true brilliance of Star Wars merchandise.

The Star Wars saga can readily provide merchandise catering to age-old fans, little boysBattlefront lovers, and geek culture — and, of course, we see this in effect with gadgets, toys, lunch boxes, games…the list goes on. So, what about the untapped sources of purchasers? How can Star Wars cater to the young tween girls bubbling over 1D and the moms buying the Vader-shaped lunch box for her eight-year-old son? Not to mention the teen boys and girls who are way too cool for any gimmicky new movie built around the capitalist convention of consumerist culture, invented to brainwash the masses, and henceforth serving The Man.

In answering these questions, we find that there truly is something for everyone when it comes to Star Wars. For mom, there’s a themed Stormtrooper oven mitt, R2 apron, and even a full line of “Feel the Force” vibrators. And how can teen and young adult girls resist the Covergirl® line of Dark Side and Light Side cosmetics? Of course, for the cynical teen, there are hundreds of ironic t-shirts mocking the real-world applications of Star Wars propaganda and politics. 

Essentially, the massive franchise of Star Wars has found a way to touch every object and heart in the U.S. these days. The merchandising excess of LucasFilm ltd. in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s seems minuscule since Disney® officially bought out the company in 2012 and announced the production of The Force Awakens as a continuation of the Star Wars saga. Even beyond the direct merchandising through Disney® and LucasFilm, the market offers products from LEGO®PLAYMOBIL®Electronic Arts, and giants in the fashion industry from Forever 21 to the runway

Star Wars has even taken over the most marketed and merchandised holiday in the world: Christmas. We laugh at the satire of Yogurt and his merchandising, but most merchandisers have a lot to learn from how Star Wars targets its audiences. Without a doubt, there may be a Star Wars flamethrower out there one day.


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About the Author

Corinne MacInnes grew up in Albion, MI. She attended Kalamazoo College and graduated in 2015 with a B.F.A. and concentrations in Spanish, English, and Art History under her belt. Today she works from Chicago doing freelance writing, creative writing, and event planning

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