A quick check with @adland's twitter pals, it turns out that I wasn't the only one disappointed when I saw the star wars bark "teaser" for VW's upcoming super bowl ad. It has everything I hate in it: it's a teaser, it's borrowing interest from Star Wars, it's hyping this years ad on the back of last years ad. Oh, and little dogs too. I have a feeling this years VW super bowl ad will suck.
Last years VW ad was written up everywhere. The press toured the adorable little actor with his heart condition all over TV and newspapers. Props to the PR department who were using a little child's tragic medical condition to ensure that their super bowl ad was the most talked about that year - how clever of you. Then Greenpeace came and kicked some dark side ass, but was forced to remove their clip from youtube. Lets watch the VW "force" ad again so I can point to the part that I hate.
See that? See where the father uses auto-start, revving up an engine of a heavy vehicle on wheels aimed at his only child. That just makes something deep in my spine hurt to watch that. What the hell are you doing dad, taking that risk? That goes against every parenting gene in the book. And, to top it off, VW are not the only car with auto-start so what exactly are we selling here? It's not very VW at all either. Slap another brand name on it and you'd be selling any other car.
Look, I haven't thought that Star Wars was a fun thing to use in an ad since the King Faced off with Darth for BK, it's simply one of the most over-used ad ploys ever. Star Wars is not geeky. Star wars is mainstream. And while I get it, it was a mindblowing film back in 1977, now it's a franchise so huge one wonders if Lucas bullies ad brands into keeping his bazillionaire-money-generating mythos alive. We've been bombarded with Star wars since we were children. Examples. Let me show you them.
Underoos! The little girl in R2D2 gear seems to fart as well, nice touch.
Star Wars told us not to smoke. Clearly this PSA had no effect whatsover on me.
In fact, Star Wars and advertising have been in bed so long that this Mad Men Star Wars mashup come naturally. In short, if you're writing anything Star Wars into your ad, you might as well be working at Sterling Cooper back in 1977, it's that old. Even Darth thinks it's kinda cruel by now.