Do or do not, there is no try

I often use this space to crap all over bad commercials, but today I would like to highlight one particular commercial that has really been standing out of the crowd as a winner. And that’s the Volkswagon “The Force” spot, starring a young, aspiring Darth Vadar. I know you’ve seen it, but in case you need another dose, here it is:

Let’s understand a bit more why this commercial is so popular.

First off, you can’t beat the music. Hands down awesome, and VW doesn’t muck it up by adding unnecessary dialogue. Secondly, the kid is great. With only hand movements at his disposal, he’s able to express determination, frustration, and exhilaration.

Thirdly, Darth Vadar and anything Star Wars is multi-generational so you’re reaching everyone from the late Silent/Radio generation through Boomers and all the way down to Gen Next.

And Fourthly, most of us who fall into that wide generational category have likely, at one time or another, tried to be a superhero or supervillain and can easily put ourselves right back into those shoes. And for those who have children, they may be experiencing this again more recently through their own young ones.

Fifthly, great editing. The film cuts align with the music, making it more exciting and engaging to watch; which also makes the commercial easy to see over and over and over again. It’s not a spot I will easily tire of and that’s difficult to accomplish in this day and age.

My only issue with this spot – which is a really big one – is that I don’t walk away remembering that it’s a Volkswagon commercial for their new Passat. When I went to find the spot on youtube, I just typed in “darth vadar car commercial”. I sort of thought it was a Toyota this whole time. It’s not the only car brand promoting a remote start option – Chevy promotes an app that can start and lock the car from anywhere – yet that’s really the only car feature VW chose to promote in this spot.

I hear many people talking about the “darth vadar” commercial in social settings, so the creative side is clearly a hit, but I haven’t heard anyone yet refer to it as a Volkswagon spot. So it’s starting to feel like this is another ‘Cat Herder‘ example where the creative guys win in the end, but the client doesn’t.

VW does a good job of positioning the car logo front and center in the spot, and it has all the ingredients of a good VW ad, but I get so consumed by the kid that I just don’t recall the brand at the end. And I have to imagine with a great brand like VW with great cars, there could have been a better way to tie it together to really make it a win-win for both creatives and clients. At least that’s my 2 cents, but maybe the Passat car sales will tell a different story.