This is a charming commercial and an unusual example of alignment marketing. In alignment marketing, a brand links itself with a valued person, organization, or cultural icon in hopes that the positive feelings and perceptions toward that entity rub off on the brand. Usually, in alignment marketing, the entity and the brand are actively linked– Michael Jordan wears Nike, the NFL makes Coke its official soft drink, Ford helps the American Cancer Society fight breast cancer. In this case, HP was given permission to associate itself with Star Wars intellectual property but Star Wars does not appear to endorse HP nor is HP helping Star Wars accomplish anything.
The success of alignment marketing depends on three things: 1) the amount of positive feelings for and perceptions of the valued entity among the target, 2) the strength of the link created between the brand and the entity, and 3) the meaning of the link. The meaning of the link is what the link implies about the brand.
1) Most people, and certainly most computer buyers, love Star Wars. 2) The HP logo is visible throughout, often sharing the screen with R2-D2, so the link is well established. 3) What, however, is the meaning of the link? Is Star Wars suggesting that HP is a good computer? Is HP helping in some way to create or the newest episode in the Star Wars saga? Or are the two just juxtaposed in hopes viewers will infer a deeper connection?
Viewers do learn that people who use HP are fun, creative, skilled, and like Star Wars but any endorsement of HP by Star Wars would have made a good ad much better.