My analysis on Volkswagen: the Force CM (Blog #1)


Before I go on to my analysis of this commercial for Volkswagen’s “The Force”, I want to say that I was put in a difficult spot in deciding between a few other commercials to analyze. There seems to be such an evil plot to give a handful of good commercials and having to pic one to dissect  but ultimately, I had to follow my favorite. It was between  The Buble one for Stabucks and the Vintage Palm Olive that I had to choose in addition to the Volkswagen one. I choose the Volkswagon one

There are three questions that I will answers, which were provided for this blog post (aka a blog post assignment)

1.Analysis. What is the purpose of this video? What version of reality is it selling?

The purpose of this commercial is that there is a little bit of “The Force” in everyone (even though realistically we do not have it.)  as shown by the little boy and that force is focused into the new Passat. The reality is that it is trying to sell the new 2012 Passat model for a lower selling price along with one of the many new features such as remote ignition.

2) Audience. Who is the intended audience of this video? Through whose eyes or perspective is information conveyed? Why? 

      This commercial was intended to aim for two kinds of viewers. The first are for those who are Star wars fans and understand the reference that is being used for the force. The cute factor of a mini-Darth Vader is sure to melt the hearts of millions who understand the little boys desire to use the force. It is the dream of a Star Wars fan to be able to use the force at home, which the boy could not achieve without the help of  Volkswagen.

 The second audience was for those who were watching the super bowl. What better way to advertise new products than during the Super Bowl. From my perspective, for the millions of football fans who keep their eyes on the TV screens for the big ball game, this is a big moment for big brand name advertisers to shine with new advertising concepts, which has seeming become a kind of spectator sport in its own way. Especially with a big franchise as Star Wars, what better way to grab the attentions of the views by using something from pop-culture in a creative way. 

The third audience was aimed towards potential car buyer and fans of Volkswagon. In order to grab the attention of potential car buyers, Volkswagen not only needs to show their new car models, but also show a price tag that they can catch future Volkswagen owners and a brief preview of what the new model has to offer .

3) Representation. How are the people/figures in this video portrayed? Why do you believe they have been singled out? Whose voices are not being represented in this text?

The little “Darth Vader” was portrayed as the main villain  figure of the home who wants to be able to control things with the force. However not everything goes to plan. The failure of obtaining the “force” shows the reality of how there is no such thing as “The force”. The mother and the father are pushed to the sidelines the child becomes a bit obsessed to fulfilling his dream. He became disappointed when his mother gave him the sandwich plate to go along with “The Force”. The father does not receive a hug from his son. The only way to brighten his day is through the help of the Passat, which surprises young Vader, in fulfilling his dream. However, the parents tried to help fulfill his wish, which in a sense they did.

The car has very little spotlight time for a car commercial, which leads me to say that the “main product” itself was singled out.

However, there was a reason why Volkswagen centered the video around the little “Darth Vader”

I think that Volkswagen wanted to promote the phrase “The impossible made possible”.  As of right now, more and more advanced technology is being used in cars, especially with remote ignition. There are more and more improved innovations for these types of car technologies and Volkswagen is using this to promote their car technology as well.

4) Design. From the perspective of a video producer, discuss what you think are some of the most important design decisions used in creating this ad. Why do you think this specific medium was used to market this product?

Some of the most important design decisions is to put the viewpoint of the viewer in line with the mini Darth Vader. The entire commercial was made to match the little boy’s eye level, so that the viewers can see a reflected point of view.  Like when the camera starts to create a close up of the boy trying to use the “Force” to turn on the car, you cannot help but feel anxious along with him to hope that the car turns on. With the help of dad, the car turns on and one can’t help but jump a bit at the remote ignition of the car (my hear skip a small beat).  With the use of Star War, the viewers could also thinking back at their childhood/adulthood memories of Star Wars and look at them with fondness.

This specific medium of a car with remote ignition was used because of how car technology is becoming more and more advanced. Just like in Star War, we’re talking about space ships, advanced androids, and intricate technologies throughout the entire series. For a young boy, a car that starts  by itself is something  “out of this world”.

However, the main focus for this commercial was more on a family stand point. Unlike most car commercials, family was placed at the center point of this clip. The aim was mostly likely to gain the attentions of families seeking a new car for their home that the whole family can enjoy. What better way than to center the commercial around a cute mini Darth Vader  and his dream to use the force.


The creation of these commercials relates back to Pettersson’s article for “Visual Literacy and Message Design”. Commercials are literately messages that aim to convey information through different forms and areas of disciplines. “The Force” commercial can be broken down into the five parts like the MD shows.

  1. Language: Silence is the key point here in this commercial as actions speak louder than words. The only voice we hear is of the dog’s barking. One can assume that this barking is a kind of sign for the boy that the last chance he can use “the force” is the arrive of his fathers car, which is the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat.
  2. Communication: The actions of the boy and the camera angle to his eye level, speak loudly to the viewers on how Volkswagen can “make the impossible possible”. Even though we cannot see  the emotions of the boy through his face, we can see it through his body actions. The sighing, frustration, all of these emotions are transmitted through his hands and body movement.
  3. Cognition: The point of this can either make the viewers thinking back fondly at Star Wars or show how Volkswagen has aimed for a family centered commercial instead of a car focused one.
  4. Art & aesthetics: Who does not know the famous image of Darth Vader and the hand actions of using the force (well for most people who know the references). Humor along with the use of a popular series is used to grab the attention of the viewers.
  5. Information: Of course, Volkswagen transmits the information of their car through images and words. They convey the new model and pricing through the commercial, but the image of the car and its package shines briefly and yet powerfully in what future Passat car owners could expect in this model.


To follow with the Star Wars theme, enjoy this Dog acapella of the Star Wars Theme Song created by Volkswagon as well (for the Superbowl 2012).


5 responses to “My analysis on Volkswagen: the Force CM (Blog #1)

  1. Hey Mae-Lin–

    I think you made a nice choice when deciding on this commercial. I remember when first watching this commercial all I could think was AWW!! As a sucker for children, (Makes sense why I’m going to be a teacher) this commercial immediately struck me with the aw factor. I was drawn immediately. Although I am not a Star Wars fan myself, I still completely understood the commercial, which I think was great marketing on Volkswagens end and I also think they chose a great amenity of the car to feature! Automatic start?! I have it in my car and now cannot live without it. It is the best for cold mornings or even hot afternoons. This is one feature that many car companies have yet to make customary in their new vehicles, which gives Volkswagen an edge over their competitors.
    I also think Super Bowl was a great time to market this. As a football fan, I love the commercials JUST AS MUCH as I love the game! You look forward to them, and this one definitely lived up to a “Super Bowl Commercial” standard! I think that this commercial was effective and most likely had people considering this new Volkswagen vehicle ☺

  2. Great post! I hadn’t watched this commercial until I visited your blog and I really like the style/design choices. As you mention in your design portion, the actual car has little screen time compared to the rest of the components of the commercial, yet it is arguably more memorable/effective than car commercials that feature a car zooming along a cliffside road at sunset. You bring up the Pettersson articles’ discussion of “visual literacy” which I think is hugely relevant to a commercial that uses narrative as a selling technique. The viewers are told a story here, that we can interpret, connect with, and more importantly- tell to others! I can’t recall any time that I’ve heard someone say “Hey, have you seen that new car commercial where the guy hits the gas and drives really fast?”

  3. Mae-Lin: I enjoyed your thorough analysis of the VW commercial (and I love your blog site). I wanted to comment on your post because it was the same commercial I choose to do. I was curious to read your interpretation. Several things were of particular interest to me. First of all, we both thought the lack of dialogue was critical to the piece. Also, we both came to the same conclusion as to the intended visual literacy. What makes me appreciate this commercial and the brilliance of the producers is that we interpreted the message design in slightly different ways. The ability to elicit the same visual literacy within two people who had slightly different interpretations of the message design is the epitome of a powerful commercial. Where we differed slightly was that I thought the perspective was of a parent watching their child play make believe and be silly; while you interpreted the commercial through the eyes of the child. I think that clearly shows the power of technology. If we can use technology in the classroom and deliver the same underlying message to the students while allowing them to relate to it in their own personal way, the educational message or lesson will have a much more powerful and lasting impact.

  4. Mae-Lin, I thought your analysis of this advertisement was very accurate. I enjoyed how you tied the readings in. I think you are correct when you state that the language used in the ad was silence because the simplicity of the silence drew the attention of the viewer to the to the music and the theme (Star Wars). That had not occurred to be prior to reading your post. I also believe that you identified the audiences accurately and can actually tie them together. Because the Star Wars generation is now parents, it appeals to individuals on more than one level. Great analysis!!

  5. Pingback: The Force | Учись студент!·

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