There’s not much better in life than the relationship between father and son, particularly if the father can help his son realize the powers of Darth Vader during the Super Bowl.
And so it was for the automaker while promoting the 2011 Volkswagen Passat during the Green Bay Packers’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
During the commercial, the son, dressed in Darth Vader attire, can’t get the family dog, a doll, a sandwich, a treadmill to react or the family’s washer and dryer to operate despite persistent attempts to engage “The Force.”
When the boy (actor Max Page, age 6) hears his father’s arrival home in his new Passat, he rushes to the front yard to try the “The Force” on the car. Again, it’s to no avail. But the quick-thinking father pushes the remote, keyless entry of his car while watching his son from the kitchen window.
The car’s lights and engine engage and life is wonderful. The “Darth Vader Theme” from Star Wars plays during the one-minute commercial.
In preliminary (24 hour) results, the VW-Darth Vader commercial is the most popular commercial from the Super Bowl. It’s had more than 16 million YouTube views.
“Sometimes you discuss an idea for the first time, and you just know you have something special,” Brian Thomas, general manager of brand marketing for American Volkswagen, told MSNBC.com
“It’s a confluence of things. Volkswagen is one of the most iconic brands in the world, and ‘Star Wars’ is the biggest movie franchise in the world. (The ad tells) a simple, sweet relatable story that has a lot of heart.”
Article Last Updated: February 7, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.