Inside Target's Elaborate 'Star Wars' Fan Event

The fan experience offered activities, photo opportunities, and a pop-up shop in the days before the movie's world premiere.

By Alesandra Dubin January 18, 2016, 7:00 AM EST

In the Galaxy Show Dome, guests gazed at hidden Star Wars constellations and also checked out fan memories from the digital campaign.

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Target

Target Galactic Experience Fan Event
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered with a Hollywood bash on a massive scale. But in the days before the crowd of A-listers and execs hit that red carpet, ordinary enthusiasts of the George Lucas film series got a chance to share in the fun of the hype, thanks to a consumer event hosted by Target.

The Target and Star Wars Galactic Experience event at L.A. Live on December 12 and 13 was open to the public and featured four domes with interactive experiences, character photo ops, a pop-up shop, and other experiences. Produced by Target with ad agency Deutsch, the effort was part of the retailer's Share the Force campaign that included a dedicated online portal where fans could share their Star Wars memories and Force Friday events in September.

“At Target, we are big fans of Star Wars—in fact, the franchise is one of our longest-standing licensing partners,” said Target spokesperson Lee Henderson. “We’ve worked together with Lucasfilm, and more recently Disney, since 1977 when the first Star Wars film debuted. We were eager to celebrate the release … and committed to making ourselves a go-to destination for fans leading into what would certainly become one of the year’s biggest pop-culture moments.”

Fan experiences on site included the Galactic History Dome, where visitors could check out Rancho Obi-Wan’s collection of rare Star Wars products and memories. The exhibit also had a Hasbro art installation referencing many of the iconic Star Wars toys by the manufacturer. And in the Use the Force Dome, guests used headbands connected to iPads to control a ball in a desert-like obstacle course; the goal was to reach a Target-exclusive remote control BB-8 droid from Hasbro. Exclusive Star Wars product offerings were also available for purchase.

“We pride ourselves on constantly keeping a pulse on pop culture and building experiences [like these] in support of the licensing partnerships that our guests love,” Henderson said. “This [event] offered fans an immersive, fun, and authentic Star Wars journey … with hands-on experiences. This is one of the most elaborate public fan experiences Target has hosted.”

Target held the event as a one-off, instead of a traveling event in multiple cities, and Henderson said that Los Angeles was the obvious choice of location: “Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, so it was only natural to bring the event here as the city readied to host the movie’s premiere.”

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