Super Bowl XLVI is just a few days away and already advertisers have begun releasing their new Super Bowl commercials online. Putting aside how strange it is for companies to "pre-release" commercials, or release "teasers" for the commercials, or even that there are "event" commercials in the first place, let's take a look at one of the new ads that will "officially premiere" during the game on Sunday.
Volkswagen tickled many a viewer's fancy during last year's Super Bowl when they debuted a Passat commercial featuring the "Star Wars Kid," who tries to use his or her Force powers...with adorable results. Recently, VW put out a commercial to "tease" their Super Bowl commercial, which features a chorus of dogs barking the Imperial March, and a whippet dressed as an AT-AT Walker. As cute/awesome as that is, it doesn't really seem to have anything to do with their product, which is, you know, typically the point of advertising.
But here's what it led up to: their 2012 Super Bowl commercial for the Volkswagen Beetle, entitled "The Dog Strikes Back."
I have ... problems with this commercial. First off, there's the super-depressing aspect of having a morbidly obese dog, which would indicate terrible owners or borderline animal abuse more than anything else. Instead, you have a dog being concerned about its self-image, which is pretty wrong on a lot of levels. Is it not enough that companies never stop the fat-shaming of human beings? Must they move on to making the animals feel bad now?
But let's not even worry about that part. The end of the commercial moves on to the Mos Eisley cantina and a wretched hive of villainy discussing the dog commercial. Then Darth Vader shows up. No one is quite sure why this is happening. The dog thing and the Star Wars thing are in no way related. Could they really not think of another way to work Darth Vader into a new commercial? He's Darth Vader.
Also, is Volkswagen and Star Wars a new thing now? Are they going to be joined at the hip in Super Bowl commercials for the next decade? Are VW dealership lobbies going to features guys in Chewbacca suits? ... Okay, that last thing would be awesome. If that's where we're headed, carry on, Volkswagen.
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