What R2-D2 Can Teach You About Marketing



Cute tin can.  

Yes, that’s what Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) is.  

If you don’t know who Artoo is, then you must have been living out of a cardboard box for the last 40 years.  

Artoo is the one of only four characters to appear in all six Star Wars films (and likely the seventh one that Star Trek’s J.J. Abrams will be directing after 2015).  

He’s the well known side kick of Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin (a.k.a. Darth Vader).  Living legend of the Robot Hall of Fame and George Lucas’ favourite character of all…  

But what can Artoo-Detoo teach you about marketing?



R2-D2 springs practical pranks on his robot friend, C-3PO (lovingly nicknamed Goldenrod by Han Solo).  You could say Artoo is the other half of this comedy duo (inspired by the real life Laurel and Hardy).

Artoo will often zap C-3PO and send him tumbling into a trash compactor, ravenous horde of little alien gremlins (bent on tearing off his arms) or a vat of robot grease just to make things interesting… and entertaining.  

And that’s what your marketing, content writing and sales messages should do — entertain.  Or as one savvy email marketer calls it:  “Info-tain.”

But there’s more…


Artoo doesn’t just sock you in the gut with his wily antics.  In the movies, George Lucas makes it a point to have the little guy save the day… in every movie.  Whether Artoo cracks the code on the door so Luke, Han and Leia can escape the Death Star or break into the shield generator station on the Ewok planet of Endor — he’s the unsung hero.  

Which means your marketing and sales copy (or content) has to not only “info-tain” — it also has to provide value that saves the day.  Your customers have a problem that needs solving and what you have to say will help fix it.

“Woohoo,” you say.  “How do you do that?”

You’ve got to soft sell them:  talk about what their problems are and why they need to deal with them — right NOW.  Then you guide them gently to your answer… just like R2-D2 does behind the scenes… without coming off like a used car salesman or Watto (that Toydarian junk dealing sleezebag on Tattoine).  

And finally…


R2D2 is lovable, cute (in its own Wall-E kind of way) and honest.  Seriously.  

When have good guy robots ever been programmed to lie?  (Think Data from Star Trek.)  

They’re the real deal.  No masks, smoke or mirrors.  

You know what they are, who they are, and what they’re like.  

Your marketing, content and copy has to be like that.  

Crystal clear.  

And the message behind the message must be as obvious as water crashing on the sea shore.  

What you see is what you get.  

No details are left out and every bolt is in the right place.  


So are you going to do “the robot” dance?

I hope so.  



Sunny Lam

Sunny Lam

Thursday; February 14, 2013

Toronto, Ontario

South of the Danforth (Beaches-Woodbine)


P.S.  Some of you might be thinking that a robot can’t feel emotions… and your marketing copy has to have emotion.  Well if you ever watch the Star Wars movies you’ll see that R2-D2 and C-3PO sure act like they can feel fear and love (sort of).  What self-respecting robot droid wants to get torn apart by a rancor?

P.P.S.  If you’re having trouble making your marketing and written sales pitches shine like Artoo does in the movies then you might benefit from calling me at 1.416.845.0818 or emailing me at sunnylam@sunnylam.ca to arrange a Skype chat.  



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