I can't help but wonder how much BIGGER SW would be if Hasbro would advertise on TV more.
That's the beauty of Star Wars, it does not need advertising. That is a Toy companies dream come true. It sells itself.
While I agree with you more exposure comment, the problem is with SW currently there is no signature item at this time worthy enough to advertise. In this day and age showing a couple of new figures and some basic ships is not enough to capture the google dependant, ipod loving generation of today. Our generation would have **** a brick seeing this stuff. When you take a close look outside of new figures there has not really been innovative news from SW in awhile. Meaning no real "signature feature items" since the revised force action lightsabers. That was new news and worthy of advertising .
The days of advertising a couple of new figures like Snaggletooth and a cloud car just does not warrant the advertising spend. Anything under $20 without features in most cases is not worth advertising because that is a very affordable impulse item. It really eats away the profits on low margin items when you have to account for your marketing spend. (Being in the toy industry for 8years I find it so funny that the old commercials really played up individual new figures like the peg warming Snaggletooth. Advertising back in the day must have been real cheap because that will never happen again!
However, a big ticket like the AT-TE will need it to be advertised. Hasbro and the retailers are taking a big risk with a $100 price point item. This is a signature item to the show/line and can be a real traffic driver. Hasbro has to insure sell through or else they will get killed with markdown money. This type of item justifies the marketing spend it's also an item kids will remember and actually drive them to to aisle because of scale/features. I am sure you will see more SW advertising in the near fututre.