Call for Star Wars Commercial By Fans, for Fans

James DeJulio | January 11, 2013

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If you haven’t heard, this fall we’re getting Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith released back-to-back, in glorious 3D. As part of that release, Lucasfilm has joined Forces (sorry, inevitable) with Pringles to help promote the release of both films and everyone’s favorite snack. Now, I know what you’re thinking: cross-promotional marketing opportunity, Madison Ave., eyes rolling back, snarky Tweet… But hang on and give me 500 words to explain why this is exactly NOT that, and actually a very smart and innovative way to bring some new energy to advertising and create a serious opportunity for some up-and-coming talent.

There’s a website out there called Tongal that was born out of the understanding that creative talent isn’t exclusive to a few select (or in a lot of cases, nepotized — is that a word??) people in Los Angeles and New York. It’s scattered across the galaxy from Earth to Naboo to Tatooine. Creative people come in all shapes and sizes and have different and unique skill sets and are being ignored by the established market for creative work. Tongal connects innovative businesses that have a creative need with this global (now intergalactic) creative power. As the president and co-founder of Tongal, I’m thrilled to let you know that Lucasfilm and Pringles (Kellogg’s) are two of those businesses.

Lucasfilm and Pringles have jointly launched a Project on the Tongal website to create the television commercial that will be used to promote their partnership. The way it works is that the Sponsor provides a cash prize-pool to the Tongal community (anyone can register) — in this case, $75,000 — that will be split up amongst 12 different winners who will provide either an Idea for the Ad in 140 characters or less, a Pitch/Storyboard, or a finished Commercial based on one of the winning ideas. The best Commercial will be used on TV this fall. Here’s info on how the $75,000 will be divided amongst the winners.

What I think is really fun and engaging about this process is that if you’re a Star Wars fan, you can come up with the underlying Idea that will become the Star Wars/Pringles TV Ad, regardless of whether you have the technical skills to create the commercial itself. That means that true fans are the ones who are ultimately going to tell this story to other fans.

If you do have the skill set to physically produce the Ad, let me just say this — you’ve just received the call from Lucasfilm to work on Star Wars.

Now, I know that on the surface, it’s a little different than having your agent negotiate a deal with the studio head, being put up at the Chateau Marmont, dating starlets, and going to Mr. Chow for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This has some competitive elements to it — it’s how we can build a creative meritocracy (note: if you get your Pitch green-lit in round two, you’re not working on spec). But I think it’s worth it. The call to action is to work together to “create a 30/60 second piece of VIDEO ART around the Pringles and Star Wars partnership.” So, we’re not asking you to create 30 seconds of tape with the sole mission to mercilessly schlep movie tickets and potato chips. We’re asking you to take the greatest movie franchise/IP in history, make it your own and make us say “wow.”

For what it’s worth, most people I know would trade family members or prized, one of a kind possessions to get a crack at this one. And that includes me, though those prickly “official rules” prohibit me from doing so — I guess I will have to participate vicariously…

James DeJulio is the president and co-founder of Tongal.com.

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