“We’re bringing to life the nostalgia that many young parents feel about Star Wars and Kraft, and creating new and exciting ways to experience them together as a family,” says Scott Glenn, brand manager for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
With Star Wars now once again approaching fever pitch as anticipation grows toward the debut of The Force Awakens, it’s become clear that it’s not just the new Star Wars that’s on everyone’s mind. A new appreciation for Star Wars nostalgia and vintage collectibles have become the focus of not just fans but corporate America as well.
Companies like Sony have skewed their Star Wars advertising to an older demographic with the inclusion of Star Wars nostalgia.
Kraft Macaroni as well has gone as far as enlisting super collector Steve Sansweet’s Rancho Obi-Wan to provide vintage collectibles for its newest TV spot.
Even Hasbro, a company who began making Star Wars toys in the 90’s, is identifying of late as being a vintage company because of the fact that they purchased the original vintage action figure company Kenner 20 years ago.
As lovers of all things Star Wars both vintage and modern, we found we were unable to grasp whether this new wave of Star Wars nostalgia will have a positive or negative impact. Could it have a positive influence on Star Wars collecting by increasing the vintage fan communities who value and embrace the hobby? Or could it detract from the hobby by providing an over-saturation of nostalgia where prices inflate causing interest to wane?
To answer this question we have turned to vintage Star Wars collector Tom Berges. Now what makes Berges uniquely fit to answer this question is that he is the creator and webmaster of IGrewUpStarWars.com; a website solely focused on photos, stories and memories from lifelong fans who have grown up with the original Star Wars films.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Tom as someone who has become an authority on Star Wars memories, have you noticed a new wave of interest in vintage Star Wars nostalgia on your website and/or its social media pages?
BERGES: Not the website per say, as I don’t interact with folks there like I do on the Facebook page. What I can tell you is Star Wars nostalgia is very much alive and well.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Why do you believe interest in the Star Wars of the past is being used to promote the Star Wars of the future?
BERGES: NOSTALGIA! A lingering majority of fans are still the older fans. Advertisers know their audience. And pulling the heart strings are the quickest way to getting that dollar(s).
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: What makes this new Star Wars era different from say the Prequel era which was the last time Star Wars saw a major revival?
BERGES: I’m not sure yet, ask me in a few months. What I can tell you is the product/merchandizing blitz is HUGE this time around. I think you can eat, wear, drive, ride, fly, exist on Star Wars tie-ins this time around. Star Wars is HUGE!
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Your website focuses on memories of growing up with Star Wars in 70’s and 80’s. What are some touchpoints you think the kids of today will embrace 20 years from now?
BERGES: I’m really not sure, I know that kids will have a lot more to choose from with the various movies, the television projects, etc.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Star Wars merchandise is as big (and if not bigger) today as it was 30 years ago. Do you find companies like Kraft and even Wal*Mart that play up vintage toys in their ads are doing this somewhat authentically?
BERGES: These companies know what sells! And who’s buying! The older fan is the one with the disposable income. The older fan is the one who’s been here since the beginning so it’s a smart move. Cater to your audience and they will buy. Authentic or not.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Target for Force Friday recently asked Star Wars fans to #SharetheForce by posting their Star Wars memories and photos to a special website. For a couple of weeks it proved to be fairly popular as many chose to share their personal stories but soon faded from the minds of most. Despite the great interest do you think this was beneficial to fans of the Saga or simply a smart and timely marketing move?
BERGES: Its sad it didn’t get very far. But I’m glad it didn’t. I’ve been here for a long time, and the website will keep growing.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: As someone who focuses on collecting the first 21 figures from Kenner’s ’78 line, are you seeing this new wave nostalgia and interest in vintage items have an impact of the price of vintage toys and collectibles and do you see it as something permanent?
BERGES: Things seem to ebb and flow, we are definitely in a sellers market at the moment. That I’m sure can be linked to the excitement of the new film.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Where do you stand with so many fans and collectors tapping into to their childhood love for Star Wars? Is there more of an upside, downside or neither to the fad of liking Star Wars that is occurring today?
BERGES: It can’t be anything but positive! There’s a bit of obvious fair weather, trend following fans out there but that’s to be expected. This film is pretty hyped! And folks are hungry for some new Star Wars.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Final question, does interest in collecting vintage Star Wars toys and collectibles have an expiration date? Will kids today, want our childhood toys in 10, 20 or 30 years?
BERGES: I’m not sure the kids of today will want our old relics in 20 years. I’m sure there will always be some interest. There’s a lot of new stuff that might seem more “interesting” to newer collectors. The vintage stuff is popular because WE experienced it. It’s a tangible piece of our childhood we can still acquire; even if the price of a figure is in the hundreds of dollars and not $2.99. I’m not seeing too many younger folks buying vintage, I could be wrong but the numbers I would guess are low.
FROM4-LOMTOZUCKUSS: Well thank you Tom for giving us some perspective on this nostaligic filled time we find ourselves in. We can only assume that those in marketing and media creation played with and grew up with the very toys they are now using to sling their goods. And we do have to admit we do smile every time a new commercial appears, as up until this year it was quite uncommon to see the things that live on our shelves and display cases show up so regularly in nationally televised ads.
Now before we go we thought we would leave you with a gem of a fan film which nicely tugs on our nostalgia heartstrings by JC Reifenberg and vocal Master Kenobi himself James Arnold Taylor.