"VW more than anything wants to make a big brand statement," said
Michael Sheldon, CEO of Deutsch, Los Angeles, who led the team
that created the spot. "The reason people are buying the cars is
because we're not selling. We're asking people to be cool and
smart, and that 's very attractive."
The creative vaulted the spot to the top of Super Bowl
commercial popularity charts, but the buy was really part of a
larger strategy. The spot was originally cut to 60 seconds, but
when it had to be cut in half to run in the Super Bowl they had a
hard time capturing the full feeling in half the seconds.
"Fortunately the marketing folks at VW had the idea to get the :60
out on the internet several days before Super Bowl Sunday, it took
off beyond anyone's expectations, and the :60 is the version most
people remember," Editor Jim Haygood told Creativity last June.
It had staying power beyond the game. "The Super Bowl laid the
foundation; now they're getting additional impressions and
conversation with the audience they are targeting," Andrew Latzman,
senior VP of research at Kantar Video, told AdAge.com.
Deutsch has worked with VW marketing exec VP Tim Mahoney for two
years and is creating another Super Bowl ad for VW for Super Bowl
XLVI on Feb. 5. Deutsch is also formulating a campaign for the 2012
Beetle, emphasizing it as "a more masculine" car.
"The things that draw you into the ["Force'] ad have nothing to
do with the vehicle per se," suggested Steve Witten, head of global
automotive business development for JD Power & Associates. "It
raises awareness of the brand, and draws attention to the
According to Kantar, VW in the U.S. spent $431 million on
advertising in 2010, up 17.2% from 2009.
This year VW may well realize its ambition in reaching for the
stars. It has a new body-style Jetta sedan that 's built in Mexico
for the North American market, which typically favors cars with
trunks over cars with hatches, like the Golf. And the Passat, now
into series production at the just-completed VW plant in
Chattanooga (giving it bonus points for helping create U.S jobs),
is aimed squarely at the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. VW has
taken pains to cut prices (and some features); the car is several
thousand dollars less expensive than the previous generation,
The VW group is also planning major investments in China. It was
among the first Western automakers to enter that market, and is
planning to build new plants there and to double its capacity to 3
million cars annually.