Baby Yoda is breaking the Internet.
Revealed at the end of Episode 1 of the mega-hit Disney+ original show “The Mandalorian,” the tiny Yoda-like baby might be the most viral topic online right now.
He’s also providing a great lesson in marketing and commanding attention.
If you have no idea what in the world I’m talking about, well… I’m not going to get into the weeds explaining the show.
Just know this:
- Incredibly successful Star Wars spinoff show with the launch of Disney+.
- Ridiculously cute baby version of a Yoda-like character.
- Massive worldwide reaction.
Cool? OK, let’s get into the four big marketing lessons Baby Yoda is teaching us (if you’re paying attention!):
1. “Your Audience, You Should Know”
Star Wars fans all over the world lost their minds when Baby Yoda was introduced as a major cliffhanger at the end of the first episode of “The Mandalorian.”
It showed that Disney understands the audience.
The idea that a “new” Yoda emerges after the Empire is defeated is intriguing enough, but to make him the cutest character in Star Wars history was genius.
People instantly reacted on the Internet. Some wondered if it actually was a baby version of Yoda, and maybe the timeline for the show was not what we thought. Others began wondering if Yoda’s species is incredibly rare but ultra powerful with The Force.
In the show, Baby Yoda is supposedly about 50 years old, which is what The Mandalorian character was told before he set out to find him. Star Wars fans know that Yoda lived for about 900 years, which means his species ages much differently.
This small but critical detail, which was briefly explained in the first episode, connects perfectly with the intended audience.
The little dude even moves like the original puppet Yoda—not looking like an overly tinkered-with CGI character.
The Marketing Lesson: Have a highly acute understanding of your specific target audience.
2. “Want to Share, People Do”
After just a few episodes in less than a month, Baby Yoda is one of the most popular trending topics on the Internet. You can’t go on a social platform without running into his little green face, big eyes and pointy ears.
GIFs, images, memes and reaction videos are flooding the Internet.
Seriously… just look at that FACE!
The key is that people naturally want to consume and share content about Baby Yoda. He’s cute, relevant, and builds excitement, anticipation and curiosity.
He’s also perfect for online content and generating buzz.
After just four episodes, he already has several fan accounts on social media platforms. One has 130,000+ followers on Twitter (@BabyYodaBaby). There are several Facebook fan pages, with one attracting nearly 20,000 followers.
The Marketing Lesson: People naturally want to engage with and share content that is fun, funny, relevant and timely. It’s not forced. It’s completely natural.
3. “Curiosity Generate, You Should“
One of the coolest things and smartest moves Disney made was to keep Baby Yoda a secret, then reveal him at the very end of episode one of its flagship show for the launch of Disney+.
It builds anticipation. It attracts millions of viewers. And it creates massive curiosity.
People wanted to know everything about Baby Yoda. Where did he come from? How old is he? How strong is he with The Force? Is he Yoda’s kid? What does the Empire want with him? What will The Mandalorian do with him?
Of course, Disney releasing a new episode each week helps build anticipation. It keeps people talking from week to week.
Millions of people all over the world are doing Disney’s marketing for them because they created something relevant that builds curiosity.
It creates a worldwide conversation, and that conversation continues for the long term.
The Marketing Lesson: A core purpose of marketing is piquing interest and creating curiosity. It’s not about selling. Marketing LEADS to sales.
4. “To Capitalize, Be Ready”
This is the big marketing lesson with Baby Yoda where I think Disney missed BIG-TIME.
NO, I’m not saying I know more about marketing than Disney, but how were they not ready to launch an army of Baby Yoda merchandise six weeks before Christmas!?!?
Where are the plush toys, LEGOs, apparel, candy, trading cards, stickers, posters, mugs… the list goes on forever?
AND during the prime shopping season of the year!
Disney did release a few merch items in November, but they were so low quality that people were making fun of how slapped together they were.
It looked like the same image was used as a simple screen print on some shirts and mugs. Nothing like what you’d expect from Disney. More items are currently on pre-order.
Sure, Disney will still probably make a bazillion dollars off Baby Yoda, but why not have stuff ready now?
People can’t get enough!
Some are making the full commitment with Baby Yoda tattoos!