On February 4, two NFL teams will come together on the biggest stage in sports to vie for football supremacy. The day after, the cream of advertising’s creative crop will convene in New York to declare one Super Bowl ad the best of the year and will proudly honor it with the 4th annual Super Clio.
To help set the stage, we are going to spend the next few weeks leading up to the big game highlighting the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time. Those pop culture touchstones that are still referenced today, and which helped cement football’s championship showcase as the most important date on the calendar for agencies and brands.
WEEK FOUR: Volkswagen “The Force”
Air Date: February 6, 2011
Super Bowl XLV (Green Bay Packers 31/Pittsburgh Steelers 25)
Since, oh, roughly May of 1977, children the world over have exhausted countless hours of mental energy and physical strain in an effort to find out if, in fact, they are one with the Force and the Force is with them. It’s a rite of passage alongside taking off training wheels and learning to game the Tooth Fairy. So when Volkswagen decided to build their 2011 Super Bowl spot around a pint-sized Sith Lord trying to show household the true power of the dark side, they struck a major nostalgia chord with everyone.
For Goodby Silverstein & Partners chief creative officer (and Super Clio 2018 juror) Margaret Johnson, the spot ranks as one of her all-time favorites by virtue of its heart rather than its bombast. “It was such a refreshing departure from all the lowbrow humor you typically see during the Super Bowl—cheap sight gags hoping to get quick laughs and drive up scores on the USA Today Ad Meter,” explains Johnson. “’The Force’ played in a different arena—an emotional one. Little Vader’s attempt to use the Dark Side on everything around the house, including the family dog, tapped into the innocence of childhood and was incredibly charming.”
Meet the rest of the 2018 Super Clio Jury, right here.