Passat ad a hit on, off field as Packers win

Passat ad a hit on, off field as Packers win

February 7th, 2011 by Staff Reports in News

"Hilarious."

"Best Super Bowl commercial ever."

"I'm buying that car to make my child think he has the force."

In the Super Bowl of advertising, Eminem was everywhere, Roseanne Barr took a big hit from a log and Joan Rivers became a GoDaddy girl. It was hard to throw a Pepsi can without hitting a car commercial during Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.

The Packers defeated the Steelers, 31-25.

But Volkwagen's Super Bowl ad for the Chattanooga-made 2012 Passat was a viral hit with viewers.

The ad showed a boy in a Darth Vader costume trying to use "The Force" on objects, including his dad's Passat. Viewers raved in online posts about the cute kid, the great dad, even the put-upon dog.

"It really wasn't selling a car, it was selling a feeling, and it tapped into its target market of families very effectively, which you usually don't see in a car ad," said Robert Colt, an instructor at Michigan State University College of Communication Arts & Sciences.

Volkswagen released the ad early on Youtube.com, and it became an instant viral hit, with more than 13 million views before the game even started. If the ad wins the annual USAToday Ad Meter poll, it will be a first.

The highest an automaker has ever gotten is third place, which a Nissan ad nabbed in 1997.

Overall, celebrities and humor dominated the commercials, which wooed 100 million-plus viewers at a cost of $3 million per 30 seconds.