Click on a link below to read about a particular food or beverage related promotion:
Coca Cola (or simply "Coke") was very active in Canada in terms of Star Wars related promotions between 1977 and 1985. Among the very first for the Star Wars franchise was the "Match Star Wars Pairs" promotion which took place in the summer of 1978. Players would peel the Coke bottle cap liners from beneath the caps of specially marked Coca Cola bottles to try and match different "pairs" in order to win a cash prize. The specially marked bottle caps were white caps with a black etching of C-3PO with either the "Coca Cola" or "Coke" logos printed on them.
The game was certainly not for high rollers, as the dollar rewards were quite low. For example:
The bottle caps and all eight bottle cap liners are show below:
There were also several paper items that were used to promote the contest. Shown below is a paper hanger that hung around the necks of three Coke bottles on one side of the 6-pack carry cases. It showed the pairs to match in the game, as well as offering a Star Wars poster (Hildebrandt art) by mail-order for $1.00. The reverse of the hanger stated the rules of the game.
Also used as part of the promotion was a larger sign that showed the pairs to match as part of the game. There was nothing shown on the reverse. The sign is shown below.
Fans of the Kenner line of Star Wars toys will notice that the illustration of the X-Wing used on the bottle hangers and promotional sign is that of the Kenner toy released earlier in the same year, 1978.
General Mills in Canada had several Star Wars related promotions between 1977 and 1985. The very first was the set of 16 stickers found in boxes of cereal. A complete set of these stickers is extremely difficult to find. The images were identical to the General Mills USA set, except of course for the bilingual text.
In 1983, General Mills released a set of 8 booklets packaged individually in different cereals. Some booklets came packaged with a $5.00 rebate coupon for the Parker Brothers/Atari video game cartridges, which included such Star Wars video games as "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Jedi Arena". The booklets themselves depicted scenes from trilogy as well as a narrative about different trilogy subjects. One page of each booklet also showcased the ROTJ line of toys that was in stores in 1983. The first booklet pertained to Star Wars; the second booklet pertained to The Empire Strikes Back, and the remaining six booklets focused on the Return of the Jedi.
In 1984 "a new Force at Breakfast" was introduced. Kellogg's C-3PO's; a "crunchy honey-flavoured oat, wheat and corn cereal" appeared in Canadian grocery stores. Having a Star Wars-themed cereal would guarantee many Star Wars prizes, and Canada did receive several before the cereal ceased production a few years later.
In each box of C-3PO's were packaged 2 stickers and 2 trading cards, comprising a set of 20 stickers and cards in total. Unlike the U.S. (who had the same promotion), the stickers and cards were separate. The American versions had a card underneath a peel-off sticker. The Canadian stickers and cards came with blue borders and bilingual text descriptions on the reverse.
In the same C-3PO's boxes that carried the stickers and cards promotion, there was also an offer for a C-3PO poster.
Other C-3PO's cereal boxes in Canada had a cut-out mask on the reverse. The set included Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, Stormtrooper, Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Conspicuously absent from Canadian C-3PO's boxes was the Yoda mask, which was available on the reverse of American boxes. It is believed that the Yoda mask was not included in the set in Canada because there was not enough room on the box due to the required English and French text.
The now defunct York, who manufactured peanut butter among other products in Canada, created a set of six trading cards for the Empire Strikes Back. What is interesting about this set is that the cards are round since they were made to fit in between the peanut butter jar's lid and the seal.
On the right, the reader will notice the sell sheet that was used to promote the York peanut butter Empire Strikes Back trading card promotion as well as the Darth Vader movie poster mail-in offer to potential retailers. On top of the sell sheet was a detachable shelf talker that grocery stores could use to attach to store shelves to attract the attention of customers to the offer (see below).
Libby's Canada sponsored a mail-in offer in 1978 for two of the Canadian Parker Star Wars puzzles - R2-D2 & C-3PO as well as Han & Chewbacca. Consumers would send in $1.25 (plus provincial sales tax where applicable) as well as two labels from any size can of Libby's Alpha-Getti for each puzzle requested. The offer came on cans of three different sizes - 8 oz fl/227 ml, 14 oz fl/398 ml and 19 oz fl/540 ml.
Oddly enough, this promotion almost never took place. From the book: "Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible" pages 114 and 116 (Stephen J. Sansweet, 1992, Chronicle Books):
Lucasfilm's interest in promoting only healthful foods also led to an initial turndown in 1977 of a Canadian promotion featuring an offer for a Star Wars puzzle on labels for Libby's Alpha-Getti, a canned spaghetti product. Libby's appealed, noting that its product was "a regular menu item for patients at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto." A compromise was struck. The promotion could proceed if Libby's also ran it on labels of an even more nutritious vegetable or tomato juice product.
Libby's Canada was later bought from Nestle by the Heinz company.
Another Star Wars promotion that took place in 1978 was sponsored by Schneider's Meats in Canada. Consumers could win one of one hundred Star Wars "collections" by filling out one of the tear-off sheets (seen below) and obtaining one package front from a package of Schneider's bacon or wieners and mailing them in to Schneider's.
The "collection" consisted of:
The above collection prize was valued in 1978 at $100. All of the items were Canadian packaged Star Wars items. The advertising poster at left hung in participating grocery stores to promote the contest.