VW's 'The Force' Wins Online Battle of Super Bowl Ads, but What's That Worth?

Plenty of PR, More Than $500,000 in Free Media So Far, According to Kantar Video

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The verdict is in, and Volkswagen's "The Force," starring 6-year-old "Little Darth Vader" Max Page, won the online battle of the Super Bowl ads by a long shot, with more than 20 million views on the web, according to analytics firm Kantar Video.

No surprise here; the video had racked up 10 million views before the game began, due to some aggressive promotion by VW. Now, days after the game, VW is in another league than any other Super Bowl spot: The No. 2 campaign, Doritos' and Pepsi Max's "Pug Attack," has accumulated 3.5 million views so far online and the No. 3 spot, Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" anthem starring Eminem, has 3.3 million views.

So what's that worth to VW? About $538,470 in free media when benchmarked against the $3 million cost for 30 seconds of time during the Super Bowl, according to Kantar. That's just what the impressions would cost to reach those additional people and doesn't include the PR value from the exposure and press coverage. But it's one way an advertiser can offset the media cost of the Super Bowl with free impressions on the web.

One could argue that those web impressions are more valuable because they represent a choice to watch, rather than a passive TV experience. "The Super Bowl laid the foundation; now they're getting additional impressions and conversation with the audience they are targeting," said Andrew Latzman, senior VP of research at Kantar Video.

Kantar measured 195 placements of "The Force" around the web. Combined with Volkswagen's other Super Bowl ad, "Black Beetle," the carmaker has earned more than $600,000 in free media so far. Viewing of the VW ad hasn't slowed down much. YouTube is counting 26 million views on the ad as of Friday; Kantar's tally, which included YouTube, stopped Wednesday, meaning the video has accrued at least another 6 million views since then.

But just like the views dropped off after Volkswagen's mega-hit, so does the value of the free media. "Pug Attack" generated a little less than $100,000 in media value and "Imported From Detroit" $90,000. Overall, the top-10 Super Bowl ads on the web have generated more than $1 million in media value since the game.

Interestingly, the most-watched ad on TV, indeed of all-time with 120 million views, according to Nielsen, didn't fare as well on the web. Chevrolet's "Wild Ride" didn't make the top-20 on the web, showing that while ads get a boost on TV, they succeed or fail on the web on their own merits.

But another issue is whether "The Force" is succeeding in building allegiance to VW or selling any cars. The ad was the most-liked, according to a Nielsen poll, but it wasn't even in the top-10 of most-recalled ads after the game. Fortunately for VW, it has a second chance on the web. It will be interesting to see if "The Force" has any staying power, and what VW and its ad agency, Deutsch, do to keep the meme going in the coming weeks.

Below you can view the full list from Kantar and watch all the Super Bowl spots in Ad Age's Super Bowl ad widget.

Skip to marketer

Anheuser-Busch In-Bev

Budweiser 'Wild West' Super Bowl spot
Budweiser: "Wild West"
Bud Light 'Product Placement' Super Bowl spot
Bud Light: "Product Placement"
Bud Light 'Hack Job' Super Bowl spot
Bud Light: "Hack Job"
Bud Light 'Dog Sitter' Super Bowl spot
Bud Light: "Dog Sitter"
Stella Artois 'Crying Jean' Super Bowl spot
Stella Artois: "Crying Jean"

Audi of America

Audi 'Release the Hounds' Super Bowl spot
Audi: "Release the Hounds"
Venables, Bell & Partners

Best Buy

Best Buy 'Ozzy vs. Bieber' Super Bowl spot
Best Buy: "Ozzy vs. Bieber"

BMW North America

BMW 'Defying Logic' Super Bowl spot
BMW: "Defying Logic"
Kirshenbaum, Bond, Senecal & Partners
BMW 'Changes' Super Bowl spot
BMW: "Changes"
Kirshenbaum, Bond, Senecal & Partners
MINI 'Cram it in the Boot' Super Bowl spot
Mini: "Cram it in the Boot"
Butler Shine Stern & Partners


Bridgestone 'Reply All' Super Bowl spot
Bridgestone: "Reply All"
Richards Group
Bridgestone 'Carma' Super Bowl spot
Bridgestone: "Carma"
Richards Group


Lipton Brisk 'Eminem' Super Bowl spot
Lipton Brisk: "Eminem"
Mekanism, San Francisco


CareerBuilder.com 'Parking Lot' Super Bowl spot
CareerBuilder.com: "Parking Lot"


Carmax 'Kid in a Candy Store' Super Bowl spot
Carmax: "Kid in a Candy Store"
Carmax 'Gas Station' Super Bowl spot
Carmax: "Gas Station"


Cars.com 'Go First' Super Bowl spot
Cars.com: "Go First"
DDB Chicago
Cars.com 'Reviews Are In' Super Bowl spot
Cars.com: "Reviews Are In"
DDB Chicago


Chrysler 'Born of Fire' Super Bowl spot
Chrysler: "Born of Fire"
Wieden & Kennedy/ Universal McCann


Coca-Cola 'Siege' Super Bowl spot
Coca-Cola: "Siege"
Wieden & Kennedy
Coca-Cola 'Border' Super Bowl spot
Coca-Cola: "Border"
Wieden & Kennedy


Doritos 'Pug Attack' Super Bowl spot
Doritos: "Pug Attack"
Doritos 'The Best Part' Super Bowl spot
Doritos: "The Best Part"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Doritos 'House Sitting' Super Bowl spot
Doritos: "House Sitting"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners


E-trade 'Cat' Super Bowl spot
E-Trade: "Cat"
Grey Group
E-trade 'Tailor' Super Bowl spot
E-Trade: "Tailor"
Grey Group

General Motors

Chevrolet 'Status' Super Bowl spot
Chevrolet: "Status"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Chevrolet 'Discovery' Super Bowl spot
Chevrolet: "Discovery"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Chevrolet 'Misunderstanding' Super Bowl spot
Chevrolet: "Misunderstanding"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Chevrolet 'Tommy' Super Bowl spot
Chevrolet: "Tommy"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Chevrolet 'Al's Chevy' Super Bowl spot
Chevrolet: "Al's Chevy"
Goodby Silverstein & Partners


GoDaddy.com 'New .CO Girl' Super Bowl spot
GoDaddy.com: "New .CO Girl"
GoDaddy.com 'The Contract' Super Bowl spot
GoDaddy.com: "The Contract"


Groupon 'Tibet' Super Bowl spot
Groupon: "Tibet"


HomeAway 'Smush' Super Bowl spot
HomeAway: "Smush"


Hyundai 'Anachronistic City' Super Bowl spot
Hyundai: "Anachronistic City"
Hyundai 'Deprogramming' Super Bowl spot
Hyundai: "Deprogramming"
Hyundai 'Hypnotized' Super Bowl spot
Hyundai: "Hypnotized"

Kia North America

Kia 'One Epic Ride' Super Bowl spot
Kia: "One Epic Ride"


Mercedes-Benz 'Welcome' Super Bowl spot
Mercedes-Benz: "Welcome"
Merkley & Partners


Motorola 'Empower the People' Super Bowl spot
Motorola: "Empower the People"


NFL 'American Family' Super Bowl spot
NFL: "American Family"
Grey Group

Pepsi Max

Pepsi Max 'Love Hurts' Super Bowl spot
Pepsi Max: "Love Hurts"
Pepsi Max 'First Date' Super Bowl spot
Pepsi Max: "First Date"
Pepsi Max 'Torpedo Cooler' Super Bowl spot
Pepsi Max: "Torpedo Cooler"


Salesforce 'Impossible Things' Super Bowl spot
Salesforce: "Impossible Things"
Salesforce 'Cloud Interview' Super Bowl spot
Salesforce: "Cloud Interview"


Skechers 'The Breakup' Super Bowl spot
Skechers: "The Breakup"


Snickers 'Logging' Super Bowl spot
Snickers: "Logging"


Teleflora 'Help Me Faith' Super Bowl spot
Teleflora: "Help Me Faith"
Fire Station

Volkswagen of America

Volkswagen 'Black Beetle' Super Bowl spot
Volkswagen: "Black Beetle"
Volkswagen 'The Force' Super Bowl spot
Volkswagen: "The Force"
Most Popular
In this article: