The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

Thesis Statement

The Proactive Advertisement uses three propaganda techniques namely: Glittering generalities, Transfer, and Brand wagon.


This paper focuses on The Force: Volkswagen commercial that was first aired at the Big Game in 2011. The advert is by Volkswagen, advertising the new 2012 model of Passat, and has been popular both on TV and the internet, especially due to its catchy storyline. The advert is based on a short, half robot kid who tries to use his magical powers to change the nature of people and his dog. The kid believes that he has magical powers, which he does not have the force required to do a magic trick. He tries to connect with machines, which fails, as well as with living creatures. The kid’s father has a new car, the new 2012 model Passat, which he parks on the driveway as he gets home from work. The wonder kid rushes outside the house and tries to perform magic on the car, and it works. This shows that only the new Passat has the force to give a feeling that is out of this world and allows one to connect with the environment.

Ann McClintok is a renowned author who wrote the Propaganda Techniques in Today’s advertising. Propaganda in marketing refers to the same thing as, advertisement as it is used to create awareness or increase the popularity of a given bride. In her essay, Ann defines propaganda as an accepted instrument used by companies to alter the public’s belief regarding the advertiser. Some advertisements are small, and they have no significant effect on the lifestyle of the customer, for example, candy advertisements. However, some like the American national elections, are life changing and meaningful to every citizen.

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial, contains propaganda, especially on what the car can do that other companies cannot. Glittering generalities is one of the propaganda techniques highlighted by Ann McClintok, which involves the attachment of certain phrases to a product. Mostly, it is in the form of a catch phrase, and in the case of the Passat advert, the catch phrase is ‘The Force’. It is used symbolically to show that the car model is out of this world, and only an extraordinary force can match up to it. Transfer is also a propaganda technique that means using a symbol of respect to represent the brand.  A robot is seen as intelligent innovations especially if it has human characteristics. In the advert, a robotic kid is used to demonstrate the ‘force’ of the new Passat. The kid lives a normal life and has normal parents, but, he has exceptional capabilities that normal human beings do not possess. This can be used to illustrate that the features of the Passat cannot be found in any other car model. The kid is unable to drive the ‘force’ in the dog, which is a symbol for Toyota Company in most of its adverts. This is used to show that Toyota does not have as many unique features as the new Passat model. Brand Wagon has also been applied when the car is given the perception of having a particular ‘force’ unlike its competitors. Customers will be enthusiastic to discover what the peculiar thing about the car is, leading to a boost in reputation of the brand. Advertisement propaganda plays a significant role in determining the success of a brand, and its image to the public.

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