Volkswagen VW Passat: The Force

Agency: Deutsch Inc
Client: Volkswagen
Product: Volkswagen Passat


This is a paper that describes a social phenomenon. How one idea created an indelible story, delivering an infectious creative, with enduring charm and appeal: The Force.

It became the most viewed video ad of 2011, has over 50m views, and when we have shown the irrefutable evidence of its success; we will ask you to consider whether it is feasible that The Force could have accounted for just 4% of the sales uplift seen at launch, in order to deliver a return on marketing investment.

And what's more … we will show how although we started out intending to drive viral engagement and sell cars, we ended up doing so much more – something unexpected: building awareness of pediatric medical needs due to our Mini Darth Vader, Max.

The Volkswagen Passat is a popular midsize sedan around the world. But not in the U.S. Here, considered undersized and overpriced, the Passat sells around 10,000 units a year, never posed a threat to established leaders Camry and Accord (200,000+ units pa). But to meet aggressive new sales goals, from 10,000 a year, to 10,000 a month within 5 years, Passat must become a high-volume player. It was a bet-the-company proposition. To be built in its brand new, billion-dollar factory in Tennessee, VW redesigned the 2012 Passat to take on the American market in terms of style, size, and price.