Anyone with eyes can see that Star Wars merchandise has been everywhere this holiday season, with “Star Wars” this, that, and everything filling retailers’ shelves. The first Star Wars film, released in 1977, was also the first blockbuster to show studios just how profitable merchandise and toys could be. Now, the most recent entry into the Star Wars canon is taking full advantage of cross-promotion opportunities.
Furthermore, because Disney now owns Star Wars, the entire merchandising and marketing power of the House of Mouse has been brought to bear on the intergalactic franchise. Shoppers can find at least one item based on the series on every almost every aisle of retail outlets.
One company, however, has taken the marketing drive to an entirely different plane of existence. A UK-based cremation urns for ashes company is now selling urns in the shape of Darth Vader’s iconic helmet from the first three films.
About 2.4 million funerals are planned in the U.S. each year, and according to the National Funeral Director’s Association, at least 56% of funerals will rely on cremation over burial. That’s led to a boom in companies providing custom urns.
A Darth Vader urn might seem like a novelty, but Darren Williams told CNET that interest in purchasing his urns has increased by 300% in anticipation of “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” release. During a busy week, Williams said he receives more than 1,300 requests for the galactic urns, which cost about $220.
Unfortunately, his company appears to have opened the floodgates to strange requests for urns, and now everyone wants their favorite character placed on an urn as well.
“It’s led to some crazy inquiries too,” Williams said. “People want superhero urns, landmark urns [like football stadiums], really specific car urns and a lady this week actually asked if I could create a life-size replica of her dog that passed away.”
By using a 3D printer, companies like these can create customized urns for ashes quickly, although Williams had to special order the Vader urns. If you’re struggling with grief, then Williams suggests reading this quote from Yoda, the wise Jedi master in the films.
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”