The Force (advertisement)

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The Force
Agency Deutsch
Client Volkswagen
Language English
Running time 1:02
Release date(s) February 6, 2011
Music by "The Imperial March" by John Williams
Country United States

The Force is a television advertisement created by Donny Deutsch Advertising Inc. (Deutsch) to promote Volkswagen's Passat.

The commercial[edit]

The ad for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, booked by Deutsch, features a young boy (played by Max Page) in full Vader regalia attempting to use The Force to start a washer and dryer, and to wake the dog and a doll. After he is unsuccessful in those attempts, he is startled to discover he can start the car, though his father actually did it using a remote control.[3]

The actor[edit]

Max Page had never seen any of the Star Wars movies, saying he was too scared.[3] He met James Earl Jones, the voice of Vader in the Star Wars movies, in New York City[4] on February 7.[5] On May 24, Page appeared in costume, with the Star Wars Darth Vader music playing, at the inauguration of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant.[6]

In addition, Page has played Reed Hellstrom on the American TV soap opera The Young and the Restless since November 24, 2009,[7] appeared in local commercials, and has acted "since he was barely able to walk".[8]

When he was three months old, Page had life-saving surgery, and soon after that received a pacemaker to treat a heart disorder called Tetralogy of Fallot.[8] Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) cardiology chief Michael Silka said, "He can essentially have normal activity and with careful care, a full life is a reasonable expectation."[3] Page, at age 7, had another corrective open-heart surgery at CHLA on June 14, 2012. He received a valve expected to last 15 years.[9]


The Passat ad appeared on YouTube the week before its TV debut on February 6, 2011. By the next morning, the video had received one million views; the number reached 8 million before the commercial aired on TV.[8] The online version lasted sixty seconds, compared to thirty in the broadcast version, and the long version stood out more in people's minds.[10] As of February 7, the video had more than 15 million views. Page's mother, Jennifer, said the reaction was "overwhelming. ... I can't even keep up with the messages and the calls."[3]

James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times said the ad "will get inside people’s heads and stay there because it combines the iconic 'Star Wars' character and a classic sentiment—a child’s desire to be larger than life."[11] Of all the Super Bowl ads, Rainey said, "the one you’ll actually want to see again is Volkswagen's, powered by the force of a tiny Darth Vader who tells a simple story, with a little body language and nary a word."[11]

Stuart Elliott of The New York Times enjoyed the ad, calling it a "loving spot-on tribute to Star Wars."[12] CNBC's Phil LeBeau said that the commercial was "clever, original" and "left a strong lasting impression."[13] According to USA Today the commercial was posted online 5 days before the Super Bowl and had already garnered 13 million views by the time the game aired.[14] It also scored number 3 on the USA Today Ad Meter.[15]

On May 23, the Passat ad won an online competition on the CBS special Clash of the Commercials: USA vs. the World,[16][17] in which people were asked to "choose the greatest commercial of all time."[16] The second-place finisher was Heineken's "Walk-in Fridge".[18]

By the end of 2011, Advertising Age said, "With 600 placements, the video is on pace to become one of the most-watched viral ads of all time."[19] In its first year the ad had over 49.4 million views.[15] The video is also the most shared ad of all-time.[20]


  1. ^ "Meet The Volkswagen Star Wars Kid". 
  2. ^ Lombardi, Candace (2011-01-26). "VW partners with Lucasfilm for Super Bowl ad". CNET. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sheridan, Michael (2011-02-07). "Unmasked! Darth Vader commercial's 6-year-old boy, Max Page, becomes Super Bowl XLV star". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  4. ^ "Mini Darth Vader meets James Earl Jones". KABC-TV. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  5. ^ Lopez, Johnny (2011-02-08). "When Lil' Darth Vader Met Darth Vader". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  6. ^ Woodyard, Chris (2011-05-24). "Pint-sized Darth Vader blesses Volkswagen's U.S. factory". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  7. ^ "Filmography by TV series for Max Page (II)". imdb. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  8. ^ a b c Inbar, Michael (2011-02-07). "'Little Darth Vader' reveals face behind the Force". MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  9. ^ "Boy behind mask in Darth Vader car ad has surgery". CBS News. 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  10. ^ "10 Ads Creativity Loved," Advertising Age, December 12, 2011, p. 12.
  11. ^ a b Rainey, James (2011-02-05). "Super Bowl ad winner: Darth Vader and Volkswagen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  12. ^ Elliott, Stuart (2011-02-06). "Super Bowl Ads Mine Decades of Americana". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ LeBeau, Phil (2011-02-04). "VW Uses ‘The Force’ to Score Super Bowl Winner". CNBC. 
  14. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (2011-02-08). "Super Bowl ads win with social-media play". USA Today. 
  15. ^ a b Anderson, Mae (2012-02-03). "A year later, looking at Super Bowl ads that kept scoring". News & Record. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  16. ^ a b "Clash of the Commercials: USA vs. the World". Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  17. ^ Medich, Rob (2011-05-23). "Clash of the :30 Titans". Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  18. ^ "Heineken’s ‘Walk-in fridge’ 2nd best spot ever". 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  19. ^ "Top 10 Viral Campaigns," Advertising Age, December 12, 2011, p. 16.
  20. ^ "Super Bowl XLVII: An Event of Epic Proportions". National Football League. 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 

External links[edit]