If you’re not following theswca blog then you’re missing out on one of the best sources of vintage Star Wars information on the Internet right now. Written by theswca editor Ron Salvatore the latest entry examines Kenner’s use of advertising in the lead up to the sequel to Star Wars.
As most nerdlingers know, fans of the first entry in the Star Wars franchise were forced to wait nearly a year, reckoned from the premiere of the film, to buy action figures toys based on the movie. It’s not that Kenner was unprepared. The mid-sized Cincinnati company had only signed on as a licensee in spring of 1977, just prior to the film’s release. Once Star Wars proved a massive hit, Kenner’s nose was forced to the grindstone. The mission: get product onto store shelves as quickly as possible. Generally, it takes a year for a toy company to bring action figures to market. Kenner managed to shave more than a month off that schedule.
But the release of The Empire Strikes Back would have to be different. By then, May of 1980, Kenner would need to have a full range of new product on store shelves. A kid would need to be able to tromp out of his local movie theater, into the toy area of his favorite department store, and right up to the cash register, Empire Strikes Back product in hand.
The big question: Would Empire deliver?
Be sure to check out the full article and the awesome advertising clippings.