Some narrative ads imply a lot more than they directly tell, which can be a creative risk when you’ve only got a minute or so to craft an entire story. Agency 215 McCann walks that line through a combination of craft and compelling characters with its “Become a Jedi” spot for the newest Star Wars video game.
The ad, created for the Xbox One edition of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, begins with a young woman approaching an industrial site via abandoned railroad tracks, and as she nears, conflict seems inevitable. Soon the worlds of fantasy and reality are blurred as we see the world around her through the lens of her imagination.
Before we spoil anything, though, let’s take a look at the full spot:
There’s a lot going unsaid in the ad, such as the specifics of her relationship with her father. Are they close-knit? Grown apart? Obviously she seems to come around his work space often enough to know his crew well, but there’s an implication that he’s reluctant to join the fun himself. Is mom still in the picture, or does his expression, coupled with the photos on the wall, hint at something more tragic?
In some cases, such gaps in the overt storytelling could detract from your ability to enjoy the ad, but at its core, it’s a heartwarming scenario that’s easy to follow regardless of the backstory.
“The central premise of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is based on the iconic hero’s journey of becoming a Jedi,” says says Charlie Hauser, global brand director for game developer Respawn. “That journey—fraught with danger, suspense, whimsical humor, and wonder—was our north star for marketing. We wanted to bring that fantasy to life with a live-action spot which indulges every Star War fan’s childhood dreams of swinging a lightsaber and harnessing the power of the Force.”
The spot made its debut today during Microsoft’s X019 event in London, with the video being livestreamed to an audience estimated in the millions.
The ad also hints at some specific aspects of the Fallen Order game, which launches Friday. The small droid is BD-1, a faithful sidekick in the video game, while the imaginary world around our hero is the game’s setting, the planet Bracca. In the closing moments, we see the game’s antagonist, Second Sister, and her Purge Troopers.
Of course, this isn’t the first Star Wars ad to take the approach of blending the real and fictional worlds.
In 2015, Duracell and agency Anomaly created a stellar spot about Christmas morning in the minds of two light saber-wielding siblings. And BBH New York knocked the concept out of the park in 2017 with its spot about a lifelong rivalry between young neighbors for the game Star Wars Battlefront II.
“Become a Jedi” is a worthy addition to this sub-genre of advertising, though there’s admittedly one big disconnect between the ad’s concept of shared play—culminating in the girl’s father arriving to participate—and the fact that Fallen Order doesn’t actually have multiplayer gameplay.
So while the ad appears to be a celebration of playing together, it’s actually promoting a very solo gaming experience. But hey, maybe dad will at least tag out parallel save games with her. Either way, it’s nice to see that he’s there to support her interests, and even nicer that his coworkers are willing to let her wipe the floor with them.
Brand: Xbox ft. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Creative title: “Become a Jedi”
Client: Microsoft Xbox / Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment / Lucasfilm Ltd.
Client: Microsoft / Xbox
Xbox, General Manager, Integrated Marketing: Rob Matthews
Xbox, General Manager, Brands and Advertising: Taylor Smith
Xbox, Director, Brand and Integrated Marketing: Craig McNary
Xbox, Sr. Integrated Marketing Manager: Josh Munsee
Xbox, Sr. Marketing Manager, 3rd Party Games: Kathy Richardson
Xbox, Marketing Manager, 3rd Party Games: Michelle Fears
Xbox, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Hardware: Theresa Van Den Boogaard