By: Rebecca Pierce
In case you missed Super Bowl XLV: the Green Bay Packers won 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Christina Aguilera missed a line while singing The National Anthem, and short appearances by guitarist Slash from Guns N’ Roses and singer/dancer Usher were the highlight of the Black Eyed Peas’ halftime performance.
But, the most important detail to remember about Super Bowl XLV for advertisers is that Volkswagen: The Force by Deutsch Inc. was the commercial everyone was talking about preceding and following Super Bowl Sunday.
According to Nielsen ratings, Volkswagen: The Force for the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat, was the Super Bowl commercial audiences liked best. The commercial was simple and straightforward. A little kid marches around his house dressed up as character Darth Vader from the popular American movies Star Wars, while The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) by John Williams plays in the background. Little Darth Vader attempts unsuccessfully to use “the force” to make things, such as his washer and dryer and his Golden Retriever, move or levitate with his mind. At the end of the :30 spot, Little Darth Vader runs out to meet the car pulling into the driveway. Dad, thinking Little Darth Vader had come to greet his father, gets out of the car and goes to hug Little Darth Vader. Little Darth Vader shakes his head “no,” runs around his Dad, and positions himself in front of the car to try, once again, to use “the force.” After a couple seconds of concentration, the car’s lights flash and the engine starts. The camera quickly switches to a zoomed in shot of the clicker for the car. After zooming out, the Passat’s clicker is shown to be held in hand by Dad, who is standing with Mom, looking out the kitchen window at Little Darth Vader and the Volkswagen Passat. The spot ends with a taken aback Little Darth Vader standing in front of the Volkswagen Passat.
The Volkswagen Passat ad works on two major levels. Firstly, it’s entertaining to watch a kid play make believe, especially when the character that child is emulating is a popular American icon. Secondly, the commercial makes a clear statement that the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat is technologically revolutionary. By choosing a character from a popular space age movie for the child to imitate and showing the car starts with a push of a button, Volkswagen connects the Passat to forward thinking automotive technology.