Darth Vader Invades Instagram...Posts A Selfie
Another day at the office,” sayeth Star Wars villain and busy cultural icon Darth Vader. But Darth has time to grab a quick selfie and post it to Instagram to keep the Imperial Storm Troopers aware that the boss is on the job. He has that chokehold thing that works even over TV sets, you know. But wait -- that isn’t really a Darth Vader selfie. That is a picture of Darth taking a selfie of himself.
What was Disney thinking? They missed a chance at a truly seamless fictional post from the darkest of dark princes.
This is the first post from Disney in its new Instagram account for the revived Star Wars movies series that Mickey Mouse and co. just acquired from George Lucas. The film is still a galaxy away (in digital promotion years) from release. But the company is already trying to get a raised-on-mobile generation acquainted with a franchise embraced by its parents and even grandparents.
Disney appears to be playing the social channels for camp, irony and laughs. The Instagram account is just a sliver too removed for my taste. I would much prefer their diving into the fiction without any remove. Give the channel up to Darth and let him bring us the world as seen through those impossibly black shades. Oh, well -- I am a purist in such things. I prefer my goofy sci-fi world without a wink and a nod.
But it does highlight an interesting wrinkle about mobile. Intimacy cuts both ways. When handled well, mobile devices not only touch the user on a deeper and more personal level than most other channels, but it presents that point of view more naturally and personally. We have seen this personification of mascots on Twitter already. The AFLAC duck and A&W’s Rooty Bear will chat with consumers and with one another. On mobile the same tools that make for unctuous self-aggrandizement can become creative tools for bringing a fictional character to life. After all, more so than previous cameras, we identify the POV of a smartphone cam shot, an Instagram, etc. with the person shooting it. The intimacy of the mobile phone is greater even than the sum of its parts, any one of which is available on other digital platforms. There is a great opportunity here for mascots, protagonists, even executives to stay in character and project wonderful new ways of relating to the company and its products.
My advice to Disney is to turn the camera over to your characters and give us character-branded channels. For the love of Empire and The force, let Darth be Darth.