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Has Anyone Actually Bought A Car Due to Movie Co-Branding?

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author photo by Will Kinton June 2017

Automotive co-branding is an interesting thing. Sometimes it works spectacularly well -- like the Subaru Outback and Forester L.L. Bean Editions, which gave the cars a respectable and classy looking interior while co-opting the name of Maine's favorite store. Both brands tended to attract similar crowds with similar lifestyles, so the effect was multiplied.

The same holds true for the Ford F-150 Harley Davidson Edition, which practically tells Harley owners that if they don't buy that particular trim level, then they aren't a real Harley owner. Again, the co-branding spoke to a certain crowd and lifestyle that magnified the truck into something greater than its parts.

With that said, I don't understand why car companies would co-brand with movies. When "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" came out, Nissan jumped all over it, because whaddya know, they make a fairly standard crossover SUV that happened to be called the Rogue. Of course, they came out with a "Rogue One" limited edition Rogue. What do you get for your $28,950? A white or black crossover with black wheels and a black grille, floor mats that say "Rogue One," illuminated door sills that say "Star Wars," a gigantic gold badge on the side of the door with the movie's name, and cup holder inserts that feature the logos of the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire. Oh, and replica helmet of one of the movie's Death Troopers.

Definitely worth the $5,130 over the base Rogue, right?

But beyond that, I can't think of a single person who would spend the extra money specifically to have "Star Wars" plastered all over the car. I mean, I really liked that movie, but not so much so that I'd feel compelled to buy a special edition SUV because of it. The Rogue's driving experience certainly doesn't live up to that of a starfighter, and thankfully -- SPOILER ALERT -- you don't feel like you're on a one-way desperate suicide mission every time you drive it.

Furthermore, how could anybody not be completely embarrassed driving one? Imagine driving over to pick up someone for a first date. The first thing that they will see upon opening the door to your car will be an illuminated and unmissable STAR WARS in the door sill, blazing into their eyes.

 "Why does your car say Star Wars?" you'll be asked, before your date realizes that your floor mats say it too, and the cup holders also have logos from the movie. Things will only go downhill from here.

You'll have no good reply. "I...uh... like 'Star Wars'?" is the best you could possibly muster, unless you explain that the dealer was letting it go for very cheap because no one else wanted it. Even if "Star Wars" is a great movie, being that open about your taste in movies is pretty off-putting to most people. You'd get the same reaction if you showed up in a "Jurassic Park"-liveried Jeep Wrangler. That's not even getting into any explanations about how you paid an extra five grand for the privilege.

The point is, is anyone actually buying these, and why are companies still doing this? Nissan thinks there are 5,000 people who are willing to in the US. If anyone out there ever bought a car like the Nissan Rogue: Rogue One, or you know someone who did, please leave a comment explaining why. We need to get to the bottom of this.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Has Anyone Actually Bought A Car Due to Movie Co-Branding? - Autotrader