Volkswagen knows it's a favorite advertiser going into game day, so it wants to give us a taste of what to expect on Feb. 5. The automaker and its agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, have released a 60-second teaser spot called "The Bark Side," in which a dozen canines wearing adorable accessories have been recruited to do a rendition of the "Imperial March," Darth Vader's theme from the original "Star Wars."
It's all part of an effort to maintain the buzz that VW created last year with its spot "The Force," which featured a mini Darth Vader. It topped viral-video charts and was voted a favorite among consumers around the world. Last year VW bought two 30-second spots in the game; this year it has bought a 60-second spot, which is expected to feature the VW Beetle. (Interestingly, "The Bark Side" ran at least once during ABC's Jan. 18 broadcast of the sitcom "The Middle," which featured a Volkwagen Passat as a key plot point in a Super Bowl-related episode.)
VW clearly has no intention of straying from the Star Wars tie-in with its ads. At the end of the teaser, consumers are driven to a URL on VW's website that houses an "Intergalatic Invite Creator," where people can create a customized Super Bowl party invite with friends names written in the stars just like a Star Wars title crawl. The teaser spot closes by saying VW is "Back. And Better Than Ever."