Coca-Cola and Walt Disney have worked for more than three years to make some of the beverage giant’s best-known products available in “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” the new immersive park experience that opens May 31 at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, and Aug. 29 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. The result, unveiled Saturday, is a new spherical “orb” container that houses Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and Dasani. Coke and Disney also transformed the drinks’ well-known logos into Arabesh, the printed language used in the iconic movies.
Coca-Cola’s decision to rework its famous markings and container standards for a shot at quenching the thirst of Disney customers shows the leap even some of the nation’s expert marketing operations need to make when they want to cater to a specific fan base. Anheuser-Busch InBev recently raised eyebrows, for example, when it allowed HBO to take over a Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light to tout the last season of “Game of Thrones.” As part of the agreement, a character from the long-running fantasy drama killed off the popular ad mascot, the Bud Knight. Such a story might normally never seen the light of the day, but hooking on to “Game of Thrones” proved alluring enough that Anheuser allowed the commercial takeover by the WarnerMedia unit (and recently revived the character, anyway).
At “Galaxy’s Edge,” staying true to the look and feel of the world of “Star Wars” is paramount, says Scott Trowbridge, Disney’s lead Imagineer for the park. “This is a fully authentic and immersive world. We really want you to feel like you’ve walked not just on to the set of a “Star Wars” movie, but into the story itself,” he says. “We have had from day one this very important guideline, which was around authenticity. If a thing wouldn’t feel at home in the movie, it shouldn’t feel at home in our land.”
The new parks – 14 acres each – will let fans take part in a grand “Star Wars” adventure that can include taking control of the Millenium Falcon or eating at Oga’s Cantina. Executives at Coca-Cola, which has been a Disney Parks partner since the open of Disneyland in 1955 and Walt Disney World in 1971, felt the company could find a way to become part of the newest experience. “Even the cap on the package was a true collaboration,” says Susan Propp, vice president of strategic partnership marketing for Coca-Cola. The companies have even applied for a patent for the new “overcap” they developed which sits atop the orb and keeps the beverage from spilling.
The idea to use Aurebesh text on the labels came during a tour of the Coke Archives in Atlanta, where Coca-Cola signage with the brand’s iconic Spencerian script logo in various languages caught the attention of a few Walt Disney Imagineers.
“We started with a blank piece of paper and ideated and iterated with Walt Disney Imagineering on what Coca-Cola products and packaging would look like in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” said Ellen Gutierrez, director of strategic partnerships and brand marketing, Coca-Cola. “We think fans of both Star Wars and Coca-Cola will love what we came up with together.”