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Best ads of 2011: VW Passat’s ‘Darth Vader’ from Deutsch LA

It’s VW again, but this time not from DDB but Interpublic’s Deutsch LA.

Deutsch’s ‘The Force’ ad for the 2012 VW Passat featuring a precocious Darth Vader was the most-liked ad in 2011’s Super Bowl, has garnered over 45m views on YouTube (and counting) and seems to be just as popular with TV viewers in other countries as the US.

All of this must be galling in the extreme for DDB in the US, which set VW on the path to outstanding advertising all those years ago with Bill Bernbach’s famous ‘Lemon’ print ad, part of its ‘Think Small’ campaign.

Deutsch itself might not have had the chance to produce ‘The Force’ if it had hung on to the General Motors Saturn account in 2009. Saturn has since been canned by GM.

This is the third ad we’ve chosen from 2011 – and they’ve all been cars! There may even be more. This is most peculiar but, as Deutsch has noted, consumers had become roundly sick of car ads throwing technology at them so clever agencies had to provide a human dimension. There just might be a lesson there for some other product categories.

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