Darth Vader and the VW Passat

I have never watched a Star Wars movie. Ever.

And it’s not that I didn’t try. But ten minutes into the first one I turned it off and watched Harry Potter instead.  The force is not strong with this one.

See what I did there? Which just shows that one doesn’t need to have watched the movies to have a vague appreciation of the references which permeate through so many channels of entertainment.

Including advertising.

This ad for the new (at the time) Volkswagen Passat played during the 2011 Superbowl, which is one of the most watched (and therefore most expensive advertising slots) annual television events in the world. If not THE most watched. The Youtube video, which I have sourced for your convenience, had over 37 million hits and became an internet sensation.

And there’s more! The little boy who starred in this advert is seven year old Max Page, who was recently in the news after going through open heart surgery to replace his pulmonary valve. He was born with a congenital heart defect and has had eight surgeries in his seven short years and is now a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Children’s hospital. (Here’s an article).

Without sounding too cynical, I can only imagine the media’s continued interest in Max is keeping that advert in steady demand. And deservedly, it’s a great feel good advert with a heart warming back story.

Great brand contact doesn’t get much better than this


This advert stole people’s heart from the get go. This sweet little boy with a vivid imagination and his father wanting to make his dreams come true. A favourite, easily recognisable pop culture reference. Add in a story like Max’s and you have marketing gold.

And here it is:

One thought on “Darth Vader and the VW Passat

  1. Pingback: Superbowl Weekend | I’m Just Here For the Ads « The Jolly Jammer

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