Some claim that movies have become mere advertisements for their own merchandising and that even before a film is released the public has been overwhelmed by a tsunami of branded products, from toys to clothing, watches and perfumes; food and drinks to firearms and trafficked children.
The original Star Wars film was one of the first to capitalise on its merchandising potential by producing desirable, limited-edition toys that children (and their parents) could never afford. Even today, rare items such as the 1:1 scale, functioning Death Star can now reach upwards of £114 billion in auction, even more if it’s still in the original box (batteries bought separately).
Back in 1977, SMS (Scarfolk Medical Supplies Ltd) desperately wanted to get on the Star Wars bandwagon and prepared a pitch for a series of potential tie-in products aimed at sick and other feeble citizens who are a drain on NHS resources. In addition to the product mockups posted above and below, there were also Darth Vader oxygen masks for asthmatics, X-Wing-X-Ray machines, Sith bedpans, and Chewbacca toupees. Even the slogan on the promotional catalogue reads: “Use the Forceps!”
SMS were also very keen to tap the enormously valuable post-life demographic. For patients who didn’t survive their medical conditions, there were mortuary items such as Greedo body bags, Jedi Embalming Materials and R2-D2 urns, all of which ensured that even after death it was impossible to escape exploitation by a movie brand.