2011 Super Bowl wins and fails

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"L'il Vader"

Brand: Volkswagen
Status: Win

Volkswagen #1Volkswagen #2Volkswagen #3Volkswagen #4

(Click to enlarge)

This spot doesn't feature any of the standard car ad gimmicks. The VW commercial does not boast a flashy red car, nor is there talk of zero to sixty. The woman isn't exactly a sex symbol, and the ad even lacks the hurried voiceover about "0.9 percent financing" followed by the inevitable whisper "for highly qualified buyers."

This ad demonstrates that VW understands emotional storytelling trumps "speeds and feeds." VW banked on the fact that the target would make a visceral connection with the toddler and his family. That connection carried the brand into tens of millions of social discussions and consumer decision sets. The ad is fun, exciting, and memorable -- three qualities that had, until then, not yet been connected with the "people's car."

VW needed to restore a place on our radar, and the company did this with the help of one very vivacious three-year-old.

Why it's a win:

  • Almost 10 million views and 49,000 likes before the Super Bowl, when it was "leaked" by VW (SEW)
  • Winner of the coveted University of South Carolina "Cocky Award" 
  • Best Passat sales in six years in 2011 (VW Vortex)


Chloe Della Costa
Chloe Della Costa February 2, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Great article and excellent examples!