VW’s The Force


The Force

(Photo from TIME Magazine)


This ad created all the buzz in the Super Bowl of 2011. If you are not familiar, this is an ad for the Volkswagen Passat featuring a child who dreams of having ‘The Force.’ A Star Wars spin off, this ad created a marketing campaign controversial to the original stigmatism of other Super Bowl ads. Tim Ellis, the head of marketing at Volkswagen North America at the time, fought to pre-release this ad four days before the game. The original commercial is 60 seconds while VW only had a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl.

The longer ad was released four days before show time, and it was a hit. It is personal, and that is what good marketing is all about, making it personal. People can see themselves in it. It has an antagonist, protagonist, and conflict, and resolution packed in both commercials. By the time the game aired, people already knew about it and could attest to its greatness.

Now a model for other ads to pre-release their commercials, “The Force” will forever be globally remembered.

Kristan Cottle

Here are the links to both ads:

60 seconds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrBTxqNjM6M

30 seconds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhzwmYRXPp4

2 thoughts on “VW’s The Force

  1. I think Ellis made a smart move to release the commercial early. Having such a great reception, it ensured not only that people would be talking about it, but also that by the time the 30 second commercial aired, everyone who hadn’t already seen it would be eagerly watching so they too could be in the loop. I do think, however, that a more strategic move would have been to show a commercial even shorter than 30 seconds prior to the Superbowl, and then show the thirty second one during the game. I don’t feel like the 60 second commercial contributed anything extra to the narrative VW had created, but an even shorter version of the 30 second commercial could have acted as a “trailer” for the “actual” commercial that would be airing on Superbowl Sunday.

  2. This commercial is a great example of brands using modern western culture to familiarize consumers with their product. It draws in the audience through something almost everyone can relate to in some way or another, Star Wars. The use of children with dreams furthers this and attracts even more of the audiences attention since everyone has had dreams before, many that were not attainable in reality. Once the consumer is “reeled in” the Volkswagen appears and shows that the dream the child once has can be come somewhat of a reality with their product and its features. The commercial does not need to say anything at all during this whole showing and that makes the consumer more in tune, and the presentation more powerful.

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