Pre-Production Material Related to Speeder Bike Ride-On Toy Promotion
The speeder bike pedal-car giveaway was one of the big Star Wars toy promotions of 1984. It allowed large retailers to display and give away as a prize an exclusive Star Wars-themed pedal-car, thereby drawing customers into stores. It also allowed Kenner to cross-promote its toy line, which at the time was under siege by competing lines such as lof G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe.

As part of the promotion's marketing effort, Kenner commissioned an outside design firm to create a store display and several different advertisements. The image you see at the top of the page is a rough conceptual sketch of the free-standing insert that was distributed to consumers with copies of the Sunday newspaper.

A close-up. The sketch is done entirely in pen and magic marker. Though it's pretty rough in look, a lot of exacting work went into its creation.

This next shot shows a mock-up of the finished ad. It, too, is very exacting. Each element is pasted on separately, the text is a combination of printed transparency and rub-on transfer, and the silver "WIN" element is drawn by hand. To create the large background image of Luke on his speeder bike, the company commissioned an independent artist to paint an exciting scene based on the rough idea of the sketch. Unfortunately, that painting has been lost. The image of the boy on the ride-on toy is a photograph taken by the ad's designer. The boy lived in the designer's neighborhood.

Here's another piece of art that needed to be created for the final ad: an airbrushed "WIN" for the top-left corner.

This image shows a photostat of one of the display prototypes. It was cut out by hand and affixed to a blue background. Ultimately, the element would be used, after some modification, to generate the image of the display featured on the final ad.

On the above left you see a photostat of the mock-up shown farther up on the page. It flattens out all the elements and allows the mock-up to be presented as a finished-looking piece. On the right is the final ad, as distributed in newspapers in November of 1984. By looking from one to the other you can discern several differences. The "WIN" and the display used on the final ad were generated from the very elements featured on this page.

The design company that did the ad also created a brochure for Kenner. For this a second, larger display was produced, which was capable of holding Kenner toys. Kenner sent the project's designer a giant box of action figures and related items, and he arranged them in the display he'd helped create. Above you see a transparency of the shot he took of the toys inside the display.

It's worth mentioning that the side of the display is used to promote an "Ewok Holiday Special." The production displays did not bear this text, and there was no "Ewok Holiday Special." It's more than likely the "special" morphed into Caravan of Courage, which aired in November of 1984.

The shot of the display from the transparency appears inside the Kenner brochure seen above. Note that the brochure makes reference to the free-standing insert with which this entry is largely concerned.

Finally, here's a second ad for the promotion. It makes use of the "WIN" art featured on this page as well as the Luke art used on the larger display and free-standing insert. It also features another version of the display -- this one specific to K-Mart. The ad ran in a November issue of "People."

It's rare to find this many pre-production elements related to a single advertising campaign. These days, with everything being done on computer, this kind of thing is ancient history.

Finally, here you see some of the figures used in the display photographs featured on this page. They were saved by the designer and purchased by collector Chris Fawcett 30 years after this advertising material was produced.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:Return of the Jedi
Category:Prototypes / Product Artwork


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