The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen


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This 63-second video is a teaser for the Volkswagen brand. It was introduced prior to the 2012 Super Bowl and was created to generate hype for the game day commercial. It features a cast of 11 dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Following up on its knockout success of the previous year in which a mini Darth Vader tries to use the force on various household items. He succeeds only with the Volkswagen Passat, unknowingly with the help of his father.

This time, a chorus of dogs barks out “The Imperial March” from the movie, The Empire Strikes Back. Fittingly, the name of the commercial is called The Bark Side, a reference to the movie’s theme of the dark side.

There is not much of a story line. Instead, one enjoys a performance of a familiar tune but with completely different instrumentation. Three dogs are dressed for the occasions: Darth Vader in the form of a black Labrador, a little Ewok played by a terrier and the lovely Princess Leia, complete with hair bun, represented by a spaniel.

An exclamation point comes out in the form of a greyhound wearing a jacket meant to resemble the All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) vehicle, first introduced The Empire Strikes Back. Ironically, the fast greyhound represents one of the slowest moving, ungainly-looking vehicles in the Star Wars series.

The text “Back. And better than ever” flashes on the scene to the audio of a light saber moving quickly through the air. The next set of text reads, “That’s the power of German engineering”, positioned underneath the VW logo. “Das Auto” replaces the previous text.

Because of its prior success with the previous year’s The Force commercial, viewers knew exactly who the advertiser was even though the exposure was minimal. As it was a teaser for things to come, it generated the publicity that was needed to keep anticipation riding high.

It should not be a problem for most viewers, especially those familiar with the previous year’s commercial (and that numbered in the millions), to remember the company as well as the video. Volkswagen did not bark up the wrong tree when repeating the theme.

The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen
Reviewed by

on January 29, 2013
Dogs bark out the Imperial March from Star Wars!