The Force (advertisement)

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The Force
Agency Deutsch
Client Volkswagen
Language English
Running time 1:02
Product
Release date(s) February 6, 2011
Music by John Williams
Starring
  • Max Page, Kovar McClure
Production
company
Lucasfilm[1]
Country United States

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

Commercial[edit]

Volkswagen had not aired a commercial during the Super Bowl in more than 10 years, but in 2011, the company ran two ads, both from advertising agency Deutsch. The other was called "Black Beetle".[2]

The advertisement for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, created by Eric Springer, Michael Kadin, Ryan Mclaughlin, Craig Melchiano and David Povill at Deutsch, features a young boy (played by Max Page) in full Darth Vader regalia attempting to use The Force to start a washing machine a clothes dryer, and to wake the dog and a doll. After he is unsuccessful in those attempts, he is startled to discover that he can start the car, though his father actually does it using a remote control.[3]

The film was directed by Lance Acord and produced by Park Pictures featuring the musical track "Imperial March" composed by John Williams.[4][5]

Actor[edit]

Max Page
Born Maxwell James Page[6]
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
Employer Volkswagen
Known for
Parents
  • Buck[7] (father)
  • Jennifer[7] (mother)
Relatives Ellison[7] (brother)

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[8] on February 7.[9] On May 24, Page appeared in costume, with the Star Wars Darth Vader music playing, at the inauguration of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant.[10]

In addition, Page played Reed Hellstrom on the American TV soap opera The Young and the Restless starting November 24, 2009,[11] appeared in local commercials, and has acted "since he was barely able to walk".[12]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Kovar McClure
Born Denny Kovar McClure[14]
(1972-07-21) July 21, 1972 (age 45)[14]
Winkler County, Texas, US[14]
Nationality American
Alma mater State University of New York at Purchase[14]
Occupation Actor, writer, director[14]
Years active 1999 – present
Known for
Home town El Paso, Texas, US[14]
Spouse(s) Joo Silvia[14]

Kovar McClure, an American-born actor, plays the father in the spot.

Reception[edit]

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.[12] Considered by everyone connected with the ad to be the best version but "too long to play during the game",[2] the online version lasted sixty seconds, compared to thirty in the broadcast version, and the long version stood out more in people's minds.[15] 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."[16] 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."[16]

Stuart Elliott of The New York Times enjoyed the ad, calling it a "loving spot-on tribute to Star Wars."[17] CNBC's Phil LeBeau said that the commercial was "clever, original" and "left a strong lasting impression."[18] 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.[19] It also scored number 3 on the USA Today Ad Meter.[20]

On May 23, the Passat ad won an online competition on the CBS special Clash of the Commercials: USA vs. the World,[21][22] in which people were asked to "choose the greatest commercial of all time."[21] The second-place finisher was Heineken's "Walk-in Fridge".[23]

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."[24] In its first year the ad had over 49.4 million views.[20] The video is also the most shared ad of all-time.[25]

As of August 2014, the Passat ad had 5,254,667 on social media when it was surpassed after 41 months as the most shared ad by "La La La (Brazil 2014)" for Activia.[26] It remained in second place and was still the most shared Super Bowl ad as of January 2015, when it had 61 million views.[2]

The success of the Passat ad is considered to have changed how Super Bowl advertising is viewed. Instead of a single ad, businesses look at an entire campaign which involves previews before the game and the use of social media.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lombardi, Candace (January 26, 2011). "VW partners with Lucasfilm for Super Bowl ad". CNET. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sanburn, Josh (January 30, 2015). "The Ad That Changed Super Bowl Commercials Forever". Time. Retrieved 2016-02-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sheridan, Michael (February 7, 2011). "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. ^ "Volkswagen: The Force". Ads of the World. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  5. ^ "Lance Acord". Park Pictures. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  6. ^ Max Page. IMDb. 
  7. ^ a b c "Max Page: The Boy Behind Darth Vader's Mask". Children's Hospital Los Angeles. 
  8. ^ "Mini Darth Vader meets James Earl Jones". KABC-TV. February 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  9. ^ Lopez, Johnny (February 8, 2011). "When Lil' Darth Vader Met Darth Vader". TMZ.com. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  10. ^ Woodyard, Chris (May 24, 2011). "Pint-sized Darth Vader blesses Volkswagen's U.S. factory". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  11. ^ "Filmography by TV series for Max Page (II)". IMDb. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  12. ^ a b c Inbar, Michael (February 7, 2011). "'Little Darth Vader' reveals face behind the Force". MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  13. ^ "Boy behind mask in Darth Vader car ad has surgery". CBS News. June 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Kovan McClure – IMDb. IMDb. 
  15. ^ "10 Ads Creativity Loved," Advertising Age, December 12, 2011, p. 12.
  16. ^ a b Rainey, James (February 5, 2011). "Super Bowl ad winner: Darth Vader and Volkswagen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  17. ^ Elliott, Stuart (February 6, 2011). "Super Bowl Ads Mine Decades of Americana". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ LeBeau, Phil (February 4, 2011). "VW Uses 'The Force' to Score Super Bowl Winner". CNBC. 
  19. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (February 8, 2011). "Super Bowl ads win with social-media play". USA Today. 
  20. ^ a b Anderson, Mae (February 3, 2012). "A year later, looking at Super Bowl ads that kept scoring". News & Record. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  21. ^ a b "Clash of the Commercials: USA vs. the World". cbs.com. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  22. ^ Medich, Rob (May 23, 2011). "Clash of the :30 Titans". adweek.com. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  23. ^ "Heineken's 'Walk-in fridge' 2nd best spot ever". May 24, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  24. ^ "Top 10 Viral Campaigns," Advertising Age, December 12, 2011, p. 16.
  25. ^ "Super Bowl XLVII: An Event of Epic Proportions". National Football League. January 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  26. ^ Nudd, Tim (August 5, 2014). "See the Ad That Just Eclipsed Volkswagen's 'The Force' as the Most Shared Ever Activia ends Darth's three-year run". AdWeek. Retrieved 2016-02-13. 

External links[edit]