As The Mandalorian Season 2 comes to a dramatic close, let’s take a moment to pause and reflect that there was little to no Mandalorian merchandise on store shelves this time last year. “Baby Yoda,” aka “The Child,” aka Grogu, dominated internet memes, and the world quickly fell in love with this adorable new edition to the Star Wars universe. However, it would be months before merchandise hit the shelves. Now, don’t get me wrong; it would have been awesome to go out and buy “Baby Yoda” merch right away. However, many story spoilers and leaks result from the merchandising production process. I think Disney/Lucasfilm and the dream team of John Favreau and Dave Filoni made the right call to keep the character’s existence ‘close hold.’ All secrecy aside, The Mandalorian Season 2 is far from devoid of associated merchandise, and Disney/Lucasfilm built an entire marketing campaign around it with their introduction of Mando Mondays.
Mando Mondays was announced via StarWars.com on 21 September and officially kicked off on 26 October with the cast members in attendance for a rather entertaining digital launch event. The initial launch of products did not disappoint. I picked up not one but two pairs from Adidas’ Mando collection, which I discussed in a previous post. I also grabbed Colour Pop’s cute and adorable “The Child” eye shadow pallet and the beautifully illustrated Mandalorian Golden Book.
One of the best aspects of Mando Mondays over the past nine weeks is that it unofficially marked the ‘green light’ for an open online discussion about the past week’s episode. Fans could simultaneously share in each other’s excitement and also look forward to the announcement of the next wave of Mando products. Each week toys, books, clothing, collectibles, jewelry, comics, and more were unveiled on StarWars.com, ShopDisney.com, and many other participating brands and websites. The sheer volume and range of products is stagging. There was certainly something for every consumer, whether they are long time die-hard fans looking for the latest collectible or casual fan wanting a new t-shirt.
A few of my favorites include RockLove’s Mandalorian Collection, Heroes & Villains Nite Owl tee, ShopDisney’s “The Child” PJ pants and shirt, Regal Robot’s Docking Bay 35 sign, and the soon to be released Hasbro Black Series Bo Katan action figure.
Each week’s product unveils would often include items linked directly to components of the episode. Her Universe’s Twitter account capitalized on this principle by tweeting available Bo Katan and Boba Fett t-shirts after Chapters 11 & 14, respectively following the episodes where each character was prominently featured. Hottopic, Box Lunch, and ShopDisney would also offer a wave of new direct to print t-shirts each week featuring characters of the episode.
As if weekly product unveils and announcements were enough each week, fans could also look forward to a stunning new Season 2 Character poster gracing Disney/Lucasfilm/Star Wars social media accounts. The consistent touchpoints between the brand and consumers really made this season of The Mandalorian special and connected the fanbase in a time where physical interaction is still limited. It was the perfect campaign in an otherwise difficult and challenging year. Above all, this campaign ensured consistent brand-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer engagement throughout each week. For nine straight weeks, fans are active participants extending the Mando Monday campaign’s reach, adding to the overall season experience.
This season was a gift to long time Star Wars fans with the live-action debut of legacy characters such as Bo Katan and Ahsoka. However, new fans and/or casual fans may be experiencing these characters for the first time. It is exciting to see new fans experience these characters and join in their excitement once they realize that The Mandalorian is only part of their stories. I would love to see the Disney+ metrics for Star Wars Clone Wars and Rebels after Bo Katan and Ahsoka took to the screen, and let’s not forgot the powerful name drop of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Introducing these characters to a broader consumer base not only breathes new life into the characters but adds yet another layer to the already ongoing weekly conversation.
Whether the campaign goal was to generate reach and awareness, increase consumer conversions (sales), or grow a new group of brand advocates, I would say Mando Mondays certainly achieved all of these objectives. With this campaign’s success, I’m eager to see what comes next both on screen (both big and little) and in stores/online. I would love to read a Marketing Case Study about this campaign or really any Star Wars marketing campaign. If anyone knows of any, please send me a message.
Did you enjoy Mando Mondays? What was your favorite product/part of the campaign? Is there something you would have liked to see and didn’t? I’m interested to hear your thoughts!