Chris Pratt has the Force behind him in the above video promoting the new Kinect Star Wars game for Xbox 360.
The timing also inspired Pepsi's Brisk Iced Tea branding team to expand its recent Star Wars co-marketing push with a new promotion that gives players an Anakin Skywalker pod-racer as the new Kinect Star Wars game hits 7-Eleven stores this week, priced at $50.
Specially marked 1-liter bottles of Brisk now sport a Microsoft Tag bar code (or M-tag) that can be scanned with the Xbox 360's Kinect motion sensor. The partnership marks the first use of M-tags for a video game promotion, and the first test of the Microsoft mobile technology by a PepsiCo brand.
In the game, players use their hands and arms to manipulate an on-screen light saber, lift in-game objects and drive podracers. By reading bodily movement, Kinect endows players with Jedi Force and 3-D support to duel Darth Vader against the backdrop of Cloud City.
"We want to make you feel like you have stepped into the world of Star Wars," commented LucasArts' Craig Derrick to USA Today.
According to PepsiCo research, the typical Brisk buyer is 77% more likely to spend at least 20 more hours playing on a video game system weekly than the average consumer; add to that Star Wars fans and it’s a perfect fit with both brand’s target demo of urban males ages 18 to 29.
"To stay relevant with this consumer we have to stay current on what's hot," noted Brisk brand manager Chris Oates to USA Today. "We know gaming is a passion point … and we knew Kinect Star Wars was going to be a really big deal. It made sense because it was a fit with our consumer and it was a very innovative package design we wanted to be first to market with."
Microsoft Tags aim to be a one-stop shop for mobile marketing. They accommodate much smaller print than other formats like QR codes and the size of Tags remain the same regardless of the URL length or message.
Unlike traditional 2D barcodes and mobile tagging, Tag enables custom tags that more fully integrate brand personality. And unlike QR codes, they offer a single reliable solution for mobile tagging across Windows Mobile, J2ME, iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian S60 phones and Android phones.
The underlying technology of Tag (High Capacity Color Barcodes, or HCCBs) is capable of overcoming limitations of cameras on mobile phones, and its advanced analytics can report how, when, and where Tags are being used as well as swap content with the click of a button.
This M-tag video game promotion builds on the Brisk-Star Wars relationship that started in January, when Brisk launched its 3D Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace mobile app, Brisksaber, which was actively teased on its Facebook page and a limited-edition drink featuring Star Wars villain Darth Maul seen here.
PepsiCo's previous success at gaming tie-ins includes Mountain Dew and packages of Doritos that carried codes and earned players double experience points during online Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sessions.
Pepsi has manufactured 7 million Kinect Star Wars-themed Brisk bottles with labels sporting C-3PO and R2-D2 and fans can enter to win one of 70 limited-edition Kinect Star Wars Xbox 360 consoles, special edition white Kinect sensors and C-3PO-inspired golden Xbox controllers on a co-branded website.
PepsiCo is also reaching out to gamers for another new promotion, partnering its Frito-Lay brand with Activision to tap into the buzz around Skylanders Spyro's Universe with an online mini-game.
Microsoft, in addition to promoting M-Tags, is going all out to continue making Kinect a must-have for any gamer. Below, watch how Xbox built buzz for Kinect Star Wars by inviting celebrities and influencers to preview parties around the world: