Super Bowl

Volkswagen Sits Out Super Bowl for First Time in Five Years as Auto Bowl Fades

Marketer Behind Beloved 'The Force' Spot Takes to Sidelines in Big Game

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Volkswagen, which made a huge splash with its "The Force" Super Bowl spot in 2011, will be sitting out the Big Game this year, the company confirmed.

"Volkswagen is a great fan of the Super Bowl, and it has been a strong platform for our brand and our campaigns," a spokeswoman said in an email. "However, for 2015 we have opted not to participate due to other priorities and initiatives."

"We will consider rejoining when it is right for our brand," she added.

The automaker had been a regular advertiser in the Super Bowl since 2010 but it was the commercial featuring a child in a Darth Vader costume using "the Force" to start a Passat that really had people taking notice. Volkswagen decided to release the commerical ahead of the Big Game, helping it generate buzz on social media. Ultimately, it became the most-viewed Super Bowl ad online that year.

In Volkswagen's 2014 spot, "Wings," a German engineer gets his wings every time a Volkswagen reaches 100,000 miles. That commercial didn't live up to the same hype as "The Force."

Right now it seems like the Super Bowl won't shape up to be the usual auto bowl, crowded with so many car and truck brands that they begin to blur together. Volkswagen is the latest automaker to say it will not appear in the Super Bowl. Jaguar and Lincoln, both of which also advertised in the 2014 game, will also stay on the sidelines. And NBC said last week that currently automakers have purchased about half the number of spots than in 2012 when the Peacock Network last aired the Super Bowl.

See all the confirmed advertisers in Super Bowl XLIX in our fast-evolving Super Bowl ad chart here.

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