I was walking toward the dairy case in my local supermarket last night when I felt a disturbance in The Force. A display at the end of the aisle advertised Star Wars Iced Tea from Brisk.
What does iced tea have to do with Star Wars? The people at the official Star Wars news site never pause to explain the connection, but simply plow away with marketing hyperbole: “Darth Maul and Yoda, face off for the first time… It’s a bold take on an improbable fight which could only happen in the universe of Brisk, delivered through the next generation stop-motion animation the brand revitalized last year. Yoda and Darth Maul will join the likes of these and other famous personalities previously tapped by Brisk to deliver its bold messaging.”
Why could Yoda and Darth Maul only fight each other in the universe of Brisk? Where is this universe of Brisk, anyway? Is that where the Galaxy Far, Far Away is? Did they serve iced tea in the canteena on Tatooine?
I see that Darth Maul fights Yoda in front of a Brisk Tea vending machine, but I’m wondering what kind of money they use for vending machines in the Galactic Empire. Maybe I’m just a scruffy nerfherder, but I worry that my dollar bills won’t be accepted.
The Star Wars movie series joined the Dark Side of merchandise marketing long ago, but the Star Wars Brisk Iced Tea concept is one of the most idiotic Star Wars merchandising schemes I’ve ever seen. Oh yes, there is another… and another. Let’s count seven more, in our own mini-adventure: Star Wars VII – Return Of The Merchandise Whores.
7. Imperial Destroyer Cuff Links
The economy is in terrible shape, and you’re worried that you’re at risk of losing your job. What can you do?
How about wearing these Star Wars Imperial Destroyer cuff links to the next office party? There’s no better way to show that you’re willing to remain a part of a soul-sucking corporate machine that blasts all manifestations of independent thought out of the skies. What’s that new project, sir? A Death Star? Sounds good, sir! Might I volunteer for the quality control team on that project, sir?
Oh, yes. When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.
6. Star Wars Collectable Pringles Tubes
“Collect them all, you must,” orders an advertisement for Star Wars commemorative tubes of Pringles potato chip snacks. Does the Evil Empire depend upon me not buying Pringles? Why have I never seen Yoda eat a chip, rather than the gruel he fed Luke Skywalker in his swampy hut? Do reconstituted curved potato wafers fortify my midichlorians?
I suspect that the unspoken idea behind this campaign is for children to pick up the tubes and have duels as if they are light sabers – a recipe for crispy little crumbs all over the floor. Hard to see, the Dark Side is.
Have you noticed that there isn’t a single character in all the Star Wars movies who wears a mustache? A beard, yes, a simple mustache, no. (Not officially, anyway.) That’s very un-Pringles of George Lucas.
Behind this Star Wars merchandising campaign is WalMart, the Imperial Death Star of big box stores.
A side note: Since when do Pringles cans come in editions?
A fever for the flavor of a Pringles, I have not.
5. Darth Vader Ice Cube Tray
Ice cubes are one of the most obvious missing elements of the Star Wars universe. Even on Tatooine, the hot and dry desert home planet of Annakin and Luke Skywalker, no one is ever seen putting ice cubes in their drinks. Why?
There must be a Jedi mind trick involved in this merchandising effort. Our weak minds are not meant to dwell upon such questions. Don’t ask why, just buy this tray that produces ice cubes in the shape of the head of Darth Vader. Also available from the same company are ice cube trays that make Boba Fett ice heads to float and melt in your favorite drink. It seems that the Dark Side makes a beverage especially cold.
4. R2D2 Talking Pizza Cutter
“R2-D2 just loves pepperoni! R2-D2 is a huge help to Luke Skywalker as a navigator, and now he helps you slice your pizza!” What exactly would R2D2 do with pepperoni?
It’s an odd conceptual artifact of 1970s science fiction that people living in a highly advanced, spacefaring civilization would use robots the size of trash cans, only capable of the most clumsy movements, that communicate with the grace of an old telephone modem, to perform tasks of navigation that we accomplish with small telephones equipped with Google Maps. Equally strange is the idea of having an R2D2 replica “talk” to us while we cut our pizzas into slices.
3. Yoda 3D Glasses Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Cherry Lollipop Box
Yoda was a two-foot tall green and wrinkled lifelong bachelor monk who lived alone in the middle of a planet-sized swamp. So, naturally, WalMart has decided that Yoda is a perfect messenger for Valentine’s Day greetings.
“You must unlearn what you have learned,” said Yoda. In other words, shut up and just follow along. Don’t think about why Yoda is wearing 3D glasses, or what he has to do with cherry-flavored lollipops on Valentine’s Day. That is why you fail.
2. Millenium Falcon Cat Toy
They put a plush, pillowy replica of the Millenium Falcon on the end of a string, attached to a pole, so that you could tease your cat with it. They did this because… because…
…can’t think… scar hurting… Voldemort must be near. Wait. Wrong youth fantasy genre. Sorry. Been teasing my cat with the Millenium Falcon for too long this morning.
You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. Yes, a parsec is a unit of distance, not a unit of time, but it sounds fast, right?
1. Preschool Thermal Detonator
People are selling Star Wars merchandise derived from every minor moment of the Star Wars movies. You may have forgotten the short seconds on-screen when a disguised Princess Leia threatens Jabba The Hutt with a “thermal detonator” hand grenade. Regardless, there’s a toy for that.
What the heck is a Hutt, anyway?
Anyway, some designer came up with the idea of replicating the star wars hand grenade, and offering it as a toy to play with as “fun for the whole family”, safe for children 4 and up* (*except in countries where there are real explosive devices designed to look like toys).
Bonus round: I know we’re already at the number 1 most pathetic Star Wars merchandising effort, but I just found another, even more abysmally stupid Star Wars product. Someone, in a cubicle far, far away, came up with the idea of a Star Wars birthday card with the message, “Every day you grow in the Jedi way – Honor. Bravery. Loyalty.”
The card features the image of a sneering Annakin Skywalker, the young Jedi who became Darth Vader, killing children, blowing up a planet full of innocent people, and torturing his own daughter along his path of honor, bravery and loyalty. This piece of merchandise definitely deserves a place in the Jedi Hall of Fame.