A long time ago (well, a few years), in a galaxy (state) far, far, away (Indiana. And Texas)…
I was really into Star Wars growing up. I have an older brother, who is also really into Star Wars (and his 9-year-old daughter, my niece, has loved Star Wars since she was an infant). I was in junior high when they released the special edition movies, and I watched them… a lot. And I watched our VHS of the originals… a lot. Years later, when the new ones came out, I went to Celebration III. And I camped out all night in the rain to ensure that I got in to see George Lucas speak on a panel.
These days, I appreciate Star Wars like any other normal modern nerd (or human. Please.). I’m not going to go around saying, “May the fourth be with you!” today, but I was excited to see that a few brands sent emails about it.
First up – Pottery Barn Kids. They sent this email on April 30, and I had honestly forgotten about “May the Fourth be with you.” I just opened the email and thought it was nice, and it made me feel nostalgic. But what I really loved about it was that it was almost totally gender neutral. It just showed a very nicely designed bedroom for the Star Wars-obsessed child. (It had a kid wearing a Star Wars backpack at the bottom, and the kid looked like a boy, but it was from the back, so definitely subtle in terms of “This is only for boys.”) I’m VERY against assigning genders to toys when it’s really not necessary, and I know there are plenty of little girls who like Star Wars.
This room looks adorable and cozy and I kind of want it. I love that it fits the Star Wars theme without having obnoxious branding and logos everywhere. I also love that in my commentary for this email, I’m thinking about the products featured more than the email design. Well done, Pottery Barn Kids!
Subject line: Just for your Jedi! 20% off our Star Wars Collection – 5 days only
* The “Find a Store” button didn’t really wrap to a second line like that – I had to resize it in my browser to get that whole section in one screenshot, and since this email was coded properly (YAY!), the text adjusted to the screen size.
Next up is a brand that would obviously market anything Star Wars related – ThinkGeek. They have a ton of Star Wars products, and they used this opportunity to show them off. And they did it beautifully. I love that they were able to use more Star Wars references than other brands might because – well, this audience would get it.
They even featured some user content at the bottom – they have an “Action Shot Winner” which shows an adorable baby reading a Star Wars book cuddled up with a Chewbacca toy. Under that, they have a user-submitted haiku about Star Wars.
Subject line: Use the 4th, Humanoid
Last up, we have Best Buy, who honestly kind of phoned it in compared to these other two. Best Buy sends a daily deals email that I usually just archive without even opening it, because it’s exactly the same every day, and it’s boring. But like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the subject line (at least, the first part of it) gave me hope.
Subject Line: May the Fourth Be With You: Save On Select Star Wars Movies, Digital Cameras, Air Conditioner and Digital Photo Frame, Today Only
That was pretty much it for the Star Wars content in this email. The rest of it was their normal content. It’s pretty much the same format as this – image on the left, price, short description, ‘Get the deal’ button on the right. And while I normally wouldn’t write about these daily emails at all since they’re so unremarkable, I will say this: changing up a subject line even a little bit, to make it very timely and call out something universally loved like Star Wars can be really effective. I think it’s reasonable for Best Buy to assume that many of their subscribers might be interested in buying Star Wars dvds (but maybe not ThinkGeek – I bet they can safely assume that their subscribers already have them). I think that can be a lesson for marketers trying to spice up a daily email.
(Now I’m off to get a mani-pedi, because I look like a scruffy-looking nerf-herder.)