Star Wars Survey 2005

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The 2005 Star Wars Midnight Screening Study

Finding out what was thought about Star Wars Episode III, Jar Jar Binks, and whether Yoda can really sell Diet Pepsi

Star Wars Survey 2005

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The Study: Findings and Outcomes One of the problems of contemporary marketing research is the discovery of "common sense" results which are "intuitive" and "obvious" to whoever just read the results. The reason why this is problematic is that "obvious" rarely is until you're looking at the results, and "intuitive" is frequently wrong. So some of the findings from this study are obvious, intuitive and "you knew that all along" which is true. We all knew it; whereas I collected a bunch of numbers to statistically demonstrate it. I can't prove it, because statistics don't prove anything. All statistics can do is add weight to your argument. Proof is essentially impossible, but supporting evidence gets you published and your picture in the paper if the press is interested enough. Age, Nationality and Star Wars Age and nationality turned out to have no useful bearing on the Star wars study. This has been fairly consistent in the research I've conducted in the last few years - age and nationality are becoming less significant indicators of attitudes or behaviours. Gender and Star Wars The first qualifier to this section of the findings is that women were outnumbered 3 to 1 by men, which does skew the sample population a bit. On the upside, on the analyses where female and male responses differed, the ratios dropped as low as 2.8:1 in some questions. In short, gender was not an issue in all bar six of the responses across the survey. For me, as a social sciences and marketing researcher, that's a really positive sign. Sure, it makes it harder for market segmentation, but that's a small price to pay for some equality of attitude across the study. The gender split was uncovered by running an independent samples t-test to look for significance in reactions by gender. Here's the news in brief - female respondents had two instances of significantly broader ranges of opinions to the male's one. All of the significant differences in size of reaction went to the men - male respondents definitely held stronger views in three related areas.

Star Wars Survey 2005

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Gender Difference 1: Range of Opinion Gender The creator of a movie has the right to Male re-edit their work It is important to me that my friends approve of the films that I watch Optimism about the movie (total) Male N 123 121 Mean 3.89 3.41 1.49 1.29 Std. Deviation 1.085 1.245 .905 .596 .65291 .97423

Female 41 Female 42

Male 121 4.2579 Female 41 3.9707

Overall, the female respondents were less certain about the creator's right to re-edit than their male counterparts, and whilst mostly optimistic about the film, had a broader sweep of opinions. Male respondents were curiously broader in range regarding peer approval for the types of movies that they watched - a factor that coupled with the mean, indicates a slightly greater propensity to check for peer approval regarding movie choice. Gender Difference 2: Significant Differences in Opinion Gender Return of the Sith is important to me N Mean 3.86 3.38 4.37 4.00 4.46 4.02 Std. Deviation 1.199 1.290 .704 1.059 .727 1.000

Male 115 Female 39 I believe Episode III will be a good film Male 123 Female 42 I am hopeful about Episode III Male 123 Female 42

The male respondents were found to consider Return of the Sith more important to them, and were more optimistic about the film. Taking these three results together can indicate that the male respondents were investing more emotional energy into this film (Now I'm going to sound like a marketer). Return of the Sith was important, and they were hopeful about the outcome, and they were confident it was going to be a good film. This may possibly lead to problems for Return of the Sith if the film does not live up to the expectations of the male viewers - the high level of investment in the importance of the film, and the elevated expectations means that a failure to meet those expectations will cause stronger negative reaction. This definitely looks like a good area for further investigation. There were no other statistically significant differences between the genders.

Star Wars Survey 2005

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The Advertising Study Third on the study to-do list was to assess reactions to the use of Star Wars characters in advertising. There were two parts to this procedure - first, attitudes to the use of characters in advertising campaigns was considered, and things didn't go that positively. I find the use of Star Wars characters in advertising campaigns to be Objectionable 32% Annoying 35% Not very manipulative 30% Very exploitative 35% Not very persuasive 35% Not impressive 36% Not at all objectionable 44% Not annoying 45% Very manipulative 35% Not at all exploitative 30% Very persuasive 28% Impressive, most impressive 35%

To make matters less optimistic for advertisers everywhere, the straight up question of whether the advert made you want buy Pepsi came out badly Disagree Neutral
80% 71% 55% 8% 17% 21%

Yoda - This ad made me want to buy Pepsi Wookie - This ad made me want to buy Pepsi Website - This ad made me want to view the commercials

Agree
12% 12% 24%

Ouch. Seriously, that's a fairly devastating impact for marketing and sales right there. Except, of course, for the fact that if you look for a relationship between the desire to buy Pepsi and the attitudes towards the advertising, you'll find one. Every measure of attitudes towards the advertising was positively related to the intention to purchase Pepsi. So, if you felt some form of positive reaction towards Star Wars characters being used in advertising, you were more likely to want to buy Pepsi as a result of the Yoda ad.

Star Wars Survey 2005

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This is why we're still getting the Star Wars characters appearing in advertising. One amusing correlation to appear from the study is that Yoda's impact in Episode II cannot be underestimated in terms of his selling power for Pepsi. In this study, a positive attitude towards Attack of the Clones indicates a positive likelihood of purchasing Pepsi. "What the heck?" I hear you say - basically, attitudes to Episode II influence Yoda's ability to sell Pepsi. My entire theory here is that Yoda put on an impressive display in Episode II, and that positive reaction to Episode II is a substitute for positive reaction to Yoda. All I can say is that Pepsi must be glad they didn't try for Jar Jar Binks endorsement of Diet Pepsi. Other Findings • There are statistically strong negative relationship between those people who expressed a dislike for Jar Jar Binks (Jar Jar was a mistake) and preference for Episode I and Episode II. Apparently the presence of the Gungan impacts heavily on the enjoyment of the film. • • There is no relationship between liking Episodes IV-VI and Jar Jar Binks. Disliking or liking him is entirely due to his own roles. Involvement with Star Wars (important to me, relevant to my life, meaningful to me) was strongly related to o Liking the films o Being a star wars fan o Optimism about the films o Ability to enjoy queuing for the opening night of a film o Rarely asking other people about what movie to see o Trusting peer opinions on film o Not being a source of movie advice for other people • Being a Star Wars fan was strongly related to o The importance, meaningfulness and relevance of Star Wars and Return of the Sith o Liking Attack of the Clones, New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. It was not related to liking Return of the Jedi or Phantom Menace. o Optimism about Return of the Sith o Independence from peer opinions about films in that you don't need to talk to others before choosing a film, and you rarely ask other people what films to see.

Star Wars Survey 2005

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Sample The survey was conducted on 178 people queuing for the midnight session of Star Wars Episode III. Given you're reading this file, you were probably one of those 178. For the statistically minded, 200 surveys were distributed for a response rate of 89% which is pretty good for a survey under those conditions. Gender was split on a 3:1 ratio, with 166 people reporting their gender (124 male, 42 female). Attitude towards the Star Wars Movies The Empire Strikes Backs comfortably wins as the Midnight Session Star Wars favourite. Unsurprisingly, the heavily criticized Episode I scores badly overall, although in the breakdown, it is only disliked by a third of the audience, which is lower than expected. Episode Title Episode I: The Phantom Menace Episode II: Attack of the Clones Episode IV: A New Hope Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Episode IV: Return of the Jedi Disliked Neutral Liked 27% 14% 2% 1% 1% 33% 22% 7% 2% 5% 41% 64% 91% 97% 94%

100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Ep 1 Ep 2 Ep 4 Ep 5 Ep 6 Liked Disliked

350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Ep1 Ep2 Ep4 Ep5 Ep6 Rating

Star Wars Championship League Ranking 1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 2. Episode IV: Return of the Jedi 3. Episode IV: A New Hope 4. Episode II: Attack of the Clones 5. Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Survey 2005

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The second page of the study asked a few questions regarding fandom, attitudes to Episode 3, attitudes to elements related to decisions made by George Lucas over the years, and finally, reactions to a selection of quotes from the Star Wars movies. Attitudes to Star Wars Fandom Disagree Neutral 1 I am a loyal Star Wars fan 8% 6% 20% 18% 17% 18% 2. I will always be a Star Wars fan 3. I like to let people know I’m a Star Wars fan Agree 74% 77% 62%

These results were consistent with the type of crowd you would expect at a midnight screening of a movie - fans, and obviously proudly self proclaimed fans of the movie. Attitudes towards Episode III I will admit that this section is possibly the most likely to be biased and skewed (even more so than the fandom question) given that the respondents were queuing up for a midnight launch. Few people tend to queue in the cold for hours on end for a movie they're not going to like. Disagree Neutral 2 3 4 5 6 7 The trailer left me excited The trailer left me with a bad feeling about the movie I am optimistic about Episode III I believe Episode III will be a good film I am hopeful about Episode III The TV commercials and trailers have encouraged me to be optimistic about Episode III 6% 85% 8% 3% 3% 10% 15% 10% 12% 11% 8% 16% Agree 79% 5% 79% 86% 88% 74%

Star Wars Survey 2005

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Broader Attitudes to elements of Star Wars This section examined attitudes towards some of the more controversial decisions related to the Star Wars universe. Disagree Neutral 1 I believe Jar Jar Binks was a mistake 21% 18% Agree 61%

There was strong support for the notion that the floppy eared comic relief from Episode I was a poor selection by George Lucas. However, the fans of Jar-Jar are currently only out numbered 3:1, so there is hope for his longer term popularity. Remember, a lot of people hated Ewoks immediately after the release of Return of the Jedi. 2. The creator of a movie has the right to re-edit their work

16% 13% 72% This question brought the one of the more interesting results of the study. Whilst many Star Wars fans have disliked the changes brought by Lucas' re-edits of the films, there is strong support for the creator of the movie to have the right to re-edit their work after it has been released. 3. Han Solo fired first in the cantina showdown with Greedo 15% 23% 62% in Episode IV: A New Hope Whilst 72% of the respondents support the right to re-edit, 62% of the respondents completely ignored the change George Lucas made to a critical scene in Episode IV. Instead, the fans at the midnight screening still standby the original cut of the film where Han Solo fired at Greedo first. In the re-released films, Greedo fires and misses before Han shoots. 4. Han Solo fired in self defence in the cantina showdown.

37% 23% 40% One of the rationales given for the edit of the scene was that George Lucas did not feel the original Cantina scene demonstrated that Han had fired in self defence. Even with the new version, Han Solo should avoid trial by jury of Star Wars fans if he plans on using the self defence argument. Over a third of the fans rejecting the plea, and two thirds feel he fired first. 5. I enjoy queuing for opening nights of big movies

35% 16% 48% The good news for cinema owners everywhere is that at least half of us were having a good time waiting in line. The bad news for us is that at least half of us were enjoying queuing, meaning there's a very strong chance we're British, or we'd excel at living on the Vogon Homeworld

Star Wars Survey 2005

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Reacting to Star Wars Quotes The following series of quotes were included into the survey simply because I have a sense of humour, and knew that I had to use the line "I have a bad feeling about this" somewhere in the survey. Once starting down that side of the Force, it was a question of which quotes to subject to survey testing. Disagree Neutral Agree 28% 32% 40% Spoken by the young Anakin Skywalker as he was evading droid fighters in Episode I. Ah, the young lad who would later slaughter a temple full of Jedi was such a happy child. Spinning! That’s a good trick 13% 22% 66% Obi-Wan Kenobi demonstrates foresight in recognizing the Death Star from a considerable distance away. Luke, on the other hand, still maintains he was pointing at the Alderaan moon. Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a 35% 13% 51% blaster at your side Han Solo exhibiting a comprehensive lack of faith in Force. Obi-Wan never mentioned if he found it disturbing or not, but we can guess that Han never raised the subject with Darth Vader during dinner on Bespin. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the 11% 17% 72% power of the Force Darth Vader displaying the sort of team player attitude that made him so popular in the Empire. Sure, the Death Star can trash planets, but really, did the Force ever get blown to pieces by a farm boy in an X-Wing? 10% 13% 77% Chewbacca demonstrating that cheaters always win, especially if they're several feet taller than you, and prone to random outbursts of violence. Still, it also says Chewie is a considerably sooky wookie. When nine hundred years old YOU reach, look as good YOU 10% 16% 74% will not, hmm? Yoda, in Return of the Jedi, demonstrating that Jedi might let every other emotion go, but vanity remains core to their way of life. I'd just as soon kiss a Wookiee. 41% 16% 43% Princess Leia's relationship advice column failed to make a major impact on the Star Wars universe possibly because whilst interspecies is fine, inter-sibling is not. 9% 17% 74% Yoda, personal coach and motivational speaker, during Empire Strikes Back. During his years in exile, Yoda also dabbled in self help tapes and the odd motivational seminar before retiring to Dagobah. Do or do not, there is no try Letting the wookie win is the best strategy That’s no moon, It’s a space station

Star Wars Survey 2005

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Demographics Gender: Male 75% Female 25% Ethnicity 88% Australian 12% Other than Australia. In statements of the obvious, 88% of the respondents queuing in the Brisbane Queen Street Mall for a session at the Regent Cinema self identified as Australian. Within the 12% that self identified as a Non Australian, there were more than 12 other nationalities reported. Suffice to say, there's not going to be a lot of capacity to break down the statistics by national background. E-mail 74 people volunteered their e-mail address to receive these findings. Obviously, since you're reading this, you're one of those people. Hotmail dominated the address list, with 41% of the respondents using a hotmail account. I strongly suspect this has something to do with the demographics of the sample, and the fact that most of us probably aren't too worried if our hotmail accounts get hit with (more) spam. Age Age reveals the quite curious discovery that the majority of people queuing to see Episode III weren't even alive for the first screening of Star Wars. 69% of the survey respondents were born after Star Wars was released, and nearly 50% were born after the release of Empire Strikes Back, and only 24% weren't born by the Return of the Jedi. The survey author feels rather old to have lived in a world without Star Wars. Youngest Oldest Average Largest Group Author's Age
Age D.O.B. Episode IV (1977)

hotmail.com yahoo.com.au bigpond.net.au gmail.com optusnet.com.au Other addresses

41% 11% 5% 5% 5% 32%

16 42 26 27 32

1989 1963 1979 1978 1973

Not born 14 Not born Not born 4

Star Wars Survey 2005

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Age and Star Wars DOB Star Wars 1977 1989 Not born 1988 Not born 1987 Not born 1986 Not born 1985 Not born 1984 Not born 1983 Not born 1982 Not born 1981 Not born 1980 Not born 1979 Not born 1978 Not born 1977 0 1976 1 1975 2 1974 3 1973 4 1972 5 1971 6 1970 7 1969 8 1968 9 1967 10 1966 11 1965 12 1964 13 * Average age of the sample ** Survey Author's age. Empire 1980 Not born Not born Not born Not born Not born Not born Not born Not born Not born 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Jedi Phantom Clone Sith 1983 1999 2002 2005 Not Born 10 13 16 Not Born 11 14 17 Not Born 12 15 18 Not Born 13 16 19 Not Born 14 17 20 Not Born 15 18 21 16 19 22 0 1 17 20 23 2 18 21 24 3 19 22 25 4 20 23 26* 5 21 24 27 6 22 25 28 7 23 26 29 8 24 27 30 9 25 28 31 10 26 29 32** 11 27 30 33 12 28 31 34 13 29 32 35 14 30 33 36 15 31 34 37 16 32 35 38 17 33 36 39 18 34 37 40 19 35 38 41