Saturday, January 21, 2012

VW Proves You Can Pick An Un-related Theme (Like Star Wars) And Run With It

By now everyone has probably seen the VW "Bark Side" teaser commercial and thought to themselves this is frickin awesome. What most people aren't thinking is, "What does VW have to do with Star Wars?" or "I don't get how barking dogs has anything to do with German engineering?" The point is that IT DOESN'T MATTER. A good commercial or campaign idea that engages an audience doesn't always have to make sense for a brand, in some ways like VW, it's better.

This reminds me of two advertising lessons I learned at BU:
1. Make the ordinary feel strange and the strange feel ordinary
2. When in doubt, babies and puppies

Deutsch LA must have taken the same course because last year's 'The Force' commercial with mini Darth Vader was an instant hit and gained a ton of earned media mentions--morning show interviews, news articles, shares--and was one of the more memorable/talked about Super Bowl TV spots. This year, the 'Bark Side' teaser uses the "force" of dogs put us under a viral video spell.

The only similarity between 'The Bark Side' and last year's commercial is: 1) Imperial March theme song 2) Star Wars costume, and again  to VW, Cars or German engineering but still absolutely brilliant. I hope advertisers see that a strong campaign idea doesn't always need to stem from a theme or topic that is highly relevant to a brand. I mean, the only similarity I see between VW and Star Wars is the Passat is the color of the Death Star.

Watch 'The Bark Side' again below:
Rewatch last year's 'The Force' commercial and/or read my commentary post here:
While the Star Wars theme feel a bit "forced" (haha) onto the VW brand--see the Intergalactic Invite at vw.com/star-wars-invite below--I'm eating it all up. Can't wait to send out Star Wars invites to my possibly Star Wars themed Super Bowl party.

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