Mainland ‘Taste the Magic’ Episode II Promotion
2002 was a big year for New Zealand in that, with the opening of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, we saw Kiwi actors playing Star Wars characters on the big screen. Coincidentally, one of the marketing campaigns that preempted the movie’s screening can stake a claim as of one of the biggest New Zealand-exclusive Star Wars promotions, in terms of the number of food products involved. The Taste the Magic promotion and competition involved collectible trading cards and stickers, a competition to see the Magic of Myth Star Wars exhibition in Sydney, and lots of Star Wars branded food packaging variations.
By gathering up tokens from New Zealand made Mainland Products Ltd products (Hutton’s meats, Meadow Fresh yoghurts, Tararua milk and Mainland cheese) and sending them in to that company, you would be entered into a promotional competition, receive 12 randomly assorted cards from the set of a total of 18 different Attack of the Clones characters, and a sticker sheet with 9 character stickers (the sticker sheet was apparently available elsewhere, and hence doesn’t fall into the category of being a NZ-exclusive). The competition prizes included travel and tickets to the the Star Wars Magic of Myth exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia, as well as Playstation 2 bundles with Star Wars games.
It is interesting to note that the Mainland brand is a part of the Fonterra company, who also (at the time of writing, but not for much longer) own Tip Top Ice Cream Ltd… the company we all know well from its previous Star Wars collectibles, decades prior (R2-D2 Space Ice stickers, The Empire Strikes Back masks, and “Jedi Jelly” ewok stickers). Some of the other brands associated with this campaign (Hutton’s Meats) are no longer owned by or fall under the Fonterra/Mainland umbrella.
The cards in the set bore a bold and attractive design. Photographs of the main characters in head-to-toe publicity poses have been laid over painted (or digitally manipulated) headshots. The back of each card gives a detailed character summary that, at the time, revealed key information about the pending movie. The back of the cards have the logos of the represented Mainland Products companies as a footer (undeniably identifying them as being New Zealand unique) and also carry the name of the management company that produced the cards: Incentive Direct Ltd, of Christchurch.
Mainland’s Taste the Magic campaign was was attention grabbing not just for its giveaways. Plenty of point-of-sale advertising material (including some large cardboard displays and mobiles), and product packaging ultimately became collectible items themselves. Other collectible items include a large poster with detailed competition instructions, and shelf advertising. The gallery below takes a look at the breadth of material associated with the Taste the Magic competition and campaign.