If you haven’t watched the new Star Wars: Battlefront ad by Playstation watch it. Even if you aren’t interested in playing the game, watch it. Here let me make it easy for you.
For an ad, it’s got a great narrative arc, a very focused message and most of all touches on the major source of Star Wars Fandom: Nostalgia. And while we may laugh on how thickly nostalgia has been used it works. Nostalgia the reason why the prequel trilogy and the now upcoming The Force Unleashed movie are killing pre-ticket sales. It’s a great example of the power of motivation that one would clearly understand leaping out a skyscraper onto an X-wing and why an ad’s success is dependent on choosing the right motivation.
Motivation Makes Characters
Characters in any narrative medium are only characters if they after something. Anakin Skywalker’s actions in his descent into the dark side is entirely motivated by his quest to save his wife, Padme. From his outbursts of anger to his brooding attitude are byproducts of the stress and fear he experiences over the possibility of his wife’s death.
In the same way, the office drone is going to waste his time cause he’s miserable and bored. That’s what office drones do. However his decision to stare at his R2-D2 toy instead of wasting time on youtube like the rest of us is based on his commiseration of the fun time he had playing Star Wars with his friend. It also offers a great opportunity to flashback childhood moments that many Star Wars fans share.
It’s what drives the plot
Motivation makes characters act and what ultimately drives any plot. Without motivation, characters would just react and could be replaced with blow up dolls or crash-test dummies. and that’s boring. For example, the original trilogy was fueled by Luke Skywalker’s desire to see the galaxy and coincidentally save it while Darth Vader’s motivation is to take control of the galaxy and take Luke as his apprentice.
For the climax of the plot, breaking the window and throwing yourself out of a skyscraper is only done by those suicidal or someone who has a fleeting understanding of self-preservation when deciding on the most kick-ass way to quit their boring office job. For a Star Wars fan, leaving work early to fly an X-wing with your best friend, isn’t the best choice, it’s the only choice.
Likewise, the ad is hopefully encouraging viewers to take action and have fun by buying the new Star Wars: Battlefront game.
Nostalgia was the only motivation
Choosing the right motivation is crucial for any character and ensure they will be willing to try and overcome their obstacles. Han Solo may be a smuggler, but he’s a smuggler with a heart of gold, which makes him motivated to save Luke at the last minute despite having a monetary motivation to leave.
If the office drone was motivated by a love of extreme sports or getting those spreadsheets finished by the end of the day, would he be willing to throw himself and fly an X-wing fighter? He’d just shake his head no and get back to work, which would have been a real downer for a video game ad.
There are many motivations that Playstation could have utilized to sell their ad, from great and new graphics, stunning multiplayer, epic setting. As great as those features are and likely Battlefront has, it’s not why fans buy Battlefront. Knowing what truly motivates consumers is what marketing is all about and crafting a narrative to fit their motivation and have them act.
Do you have something to say about the new Star Wars Battlefront ad? Comment below.