Will The Force Be With You?

      It’s Super Bowl season and we, as viewers, are ready for the stream of entertaining advertisements that keep us occupied between breaks. I’m sure everyone remembers last years buzz worthy Star Wars inspired Volkswagen commercial. How can one not be enamored with a little boy in a movie quality Darth Vader suit that genuinely startles himself by using “the force” to turn on his dad’s new Volkswagen? Beyond all the cuteness, the commercial relays the push-to-start feature that the affordable (and apparently fun) German car has to offer.
     To top its success from the last Super Bowl, Volkswagen has returned with yet another Star Wars inspired ad and the entertainment factor is undeniable. Yet what do barking dogs and Star Wars really have to do with the German automobile company?
     Advertisers take full advantage of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl to create innovative, touching, and entertaining commercials. Companies will pay extraordinary amounts of money to ensure that their commercial is seen by the millions of viewers watching the game. After all, this one time of the year advertisers can assume that almost every single American is tuning in. What company wouldn’t want their product showcased at this time? It’s like a black Friday Christmas sale for advertisers. These companies want to bring attention to their product in anyway possible, even if that means their product isn’t even mentioned until the last three seconds.
     In the Volkswagen ad, the viewer is unaware of the association between Volkswagen and Star Wars until the very end. This proved to be a very strategic move on VW’s part. Last year, companies were able to monitor which commercials made the biggest impact on viewers via Twitter, FaceBook and other popular social platforms. They measured the ad’s success by the number of times it was mentioned in the digital realm and were able to realize what struck a chord with the vast audience. What once seemed to be a hail marry concept of integrating marketing, advertising, and social media, is now an easy field goal for the IMC commercial championship. Volkswagen is betting that we will remember how fond we were of last year’s Star Wars theme and associate those same feelings with their brand this year as well. You can’t go wrong with puppies and kids, right?
-Alexis Kapczynski, Kacy Cox, Sara Kaloudis, Josh Bowman