Spike Brings The Ad Force To 'Star Wars' Saga

Spike TV has the basic-cable rights to the complete Star Wars saga through 2013 and for its initial run the first two weekends in April, the network is doing its best to make the advertising force be with you.

The multiplatform, multimedia campaign, valued in the multimillions, comes in support of Spike’s presentation of the six movies, which will be presented together for the first time on a basic-cable network.

The campaign, in a nod to Yoda, plays off the theme “There is Much To Be Learned,” a reference to the additional content interstitials from LucasFilm that will accompany the movies. One of the highlights: an exclusive clip of LucasArts’ videogame, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, scheduled for a summer release.

The male-targeted service will debut uncut, digitally re-mastered HD versions of episodes I-II-III from April 4-6 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, making their basic-cable premieres, and Revenge of the Sith, its broadcast-window bow, respectively. The original theatricals -- Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi -- air the following weekend.

In addition to extensive promotion on its own air and a print schedule, Spike has lined up cross-channel spots across MTV Networks’ services, as well as on Sci Fi, Nat Geo and CNBC, complemented by spot broadcast and spot cable buys. Online, Spike’s messages can be found on IGN, Maxim, Ask Men and Gorilla Nation Media, plus Star Wars and genre sites like Starwars.com, theForce.net and DarkHorizons.com.

“We’re looking for ratings as fierce as the Death Star,” said Spike senior vice president, brand marketing and creative Niels Schuurmans.

Spike has also unsheathed an extensive outdoor effort, including among other elements, 800 taxitops in New York and LA; posters on 1,000 Big Apple subway stops, featuring Princess Leia and her famous bikini and Chewbacca as the "original wingman"; and bus shelters, home to a light saber display.

Schuurmans and other Spike executive said there have been reported that some of the outdoor elements have disappeared from view.

“There is no bigger validation when someone wants to possess your advertising,” said Schuurmans, noting that Leia and Chewbacca materials have been removed.

“And Chewie isn’t happy,” he quipped.