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Kohl’s and the Chewbacca Facebook Live video: where’s the line?

chewbacca video

If you’ve spent anytime on Facebook over the past few days it’s more than likely you’ll have stumbled across the video of a woman in the US trying on a Chewbacca mask.

Her infectious laughter has now made this Facebook Live’s most-ever watched recording with over 100m views, and counting.

Essentially an unboxing video, she just happens to mention at the beginning that she got it from department store Kohl’s, before sharing the fact that this mask is a birthday present to herself and not going to be for her kids.

Kohl’s jumped on that idea sending Candace Payne and her family several more masks so they could all enjoy wearing them, as well as a stack of further Star Wars merchandise and a $2,500 Kohl’s gift card. The nature of the response (planned with its social agency, Huge), as well as its speed, has won the retailer props around the country and across social media.

“We don’t want you to have to share your Chewbacca mask, so we ‘confinsctated’ masks for everybody,” the Kohl’s rep said in the video of the drop-off, in reference to her confusion in the initial clip about how to pronounce “confiscated”. That clip, called “The Happiest Chewbacca” has got 29m views too. The mask has also since flown off Kohl’s shelves around the country.

The question is, where’s the line with such brand integration? Kohl’s got lucky with this one, to be fair. Payne could have opened the item and never mentioned the retailer’s name. She could (likely) have even bought it from somewhere else. There’s no denying however that the store did a great job of quickly reacting in a positive way that benefitted the family further, thanking them for being loyal shoppers, rather than just taking to social media to post a basic response of their own.

The fact it had the wherewithal to do something about it when the opportunity presented itself should alone be celebrated. But dig a little deeper on social, and a few responses were of course a touch cynical – ranging from eye rolling at the fact Kohl’s did anything at all, to wishing to never have to work for an agency that did such uncreative campaigns, not to mention suggesting that the PR’ing of the initiative was what felt particularly forced.

While speed is probably what made this work – grabbing the moment and beating any competitors to it – others suggested that what it did left a nasty brand-feel to an otherwise very fun and joyful thing. Payne and her family seem pretty happy about it, but there’s a slight layer of awkwardness over so much gifting felt in the Kohl’s clip too.

In spite of that, there’s no denying that the Chewbacca story is everywhere for this particular moment in time, and the fact it’s with the Kohl’s name wholeheartedly attached to it means that team is no doubt patting itself neatly on the back. Wouldn’t you? We’d love to hear some of your thoughts as industry insiders on the matter, do share in the comments below…

chewbacca kohls

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Editor's pick social media

From Yoda Wintour to Karltrooper, fashion characters gets a Star Wars makeover

Stylight-StarWars-Infographic

The Minions might have taken on looks inspired by fashion’s most prominent figures earlier this summer, but now they’ve been usurped by Yoda, R2-D2 and Chewbacca.

Yes, in celebration of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this week, fashion site Stylight has once again transformed a number of well known fashion names, this time including the likes of Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and his cat Choupette, Victoria Beckham, Cara Delevingne, Kanye West, Jean Paul Gaultier and Miley Cyrus.

Each of them takes on a different lead role, with the likes of Delevingne becoming Chewbacca and Beckham assuming Darth Vader.

Stylight-StarWars-Poster-small

“Star Wars has been a recurring theme on runways for many years now. Who could forget Chanel’s A/W 2010 iceage collection with distinctly Chewbacca inspired fur onesies, Balmain’s C-3PO influenced all-gold A/W 2013 runway looks and of course Rodarte’s A/W 2015 collection which actually featured Star Wars characters printed onto flowing maxi dresses,” writes the Stylight team.

Check out each of the looks they’ve created in more detail, below:

Stylight-Star_Wars-Karltrooper
Stylight-Star_Wars-Yoda-Wintour
Stylight-Star_Wars-Carabacca
Stylight-Star_Wars-Darth-Victoria
Stylight-Star_Wars-Kanye-Maul
Stylight-Star_Wars-R-2-Gaultier
Stylight-Star_Wars-Miley-Binks

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Editor's pick film technology

3D-printed robotic arm leads The Force in Star Wars fashion collection

openbionics2

As any Star Wars fan would know, there’s a scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker loses his hand during an epic lightsaber battle with Darth Vader, only later to have it replaced by a bionic version courtesy of a medical droid.

That piece of film history, released in 1980 no less, has inspired many a prosthetics company since. This time, it’s Open Bionics, with a 3D-printed arm created as part of a fashion collection called Fashion Finds the Force, which honours the new Star Wars The Force Awakens film, due for release in December.

The prosthetic accompanies a jumpsuit embedded with 10,000 Swarovski crystals created by British fashion designer Claire Barrow, and based on the idea of visually representing the “jump to hyperspace” (lightspeed travel through the Star Wars universe in the Millennium Falcon spacecraft). In order to match, the arm has 24 LED lights that can be programmed to light up in different patterns and colours.

Rather than just aesthetically fitting the theme, however, it is also fully functional. Head over to Forbes to read the full story.