The results are in. It’s the talk of the advertising community. The most liked spot in this year’s Super Bowl was a spot featuring a little Darth Vader. You know the spot. The five-year-old boy who’s dressed like Darth Vader wanders around the house trying to conjure up The Force to help him. He has no success until he goes outside and calls on The Force to affect his dad’s car. And to his surprise The Force is finally with him and the car comes to life. Of course the viewer sees The Force is actually his dad using the car’s remote ignition button.
It’s a great commercial. It was ranked as the most liked by Nielsen research. It has created a tremendous viral following having been viewed on YouTube over 10 million times. And it has been one of the hottest topics on Twitter and Facebook. What a success! But was it?
Do you remember the brand of the car? The model? Did it impart any information? Did it sell anything? Bob Garfield pointed out in an article in Ad Age that the vast majority of the conversation in social media was about the ad but not about the car. So was it a great commercial for the brand?
David Ogilvy said, “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” And there has to be some truth to that principle. What did we learn about the car in the adorable spot? That it has a remote ignition system? Now that’s old news in the car industry. That is hardly an advantage. What else did the spot tell us?
We have to be careful we don’t make the same mistake in hospital advertising. We need to communicate information. Useful information. Information that heightens the brand. Selling is not a bad thing. After all it is what all our advertising and marketing must ultimately accomplish. It’s not enough to be adorable. We must sell.
The spot most liked in the latest Super Bowl could have been for any product. Insert any brand you like. Yes it’s well liked. It has become a viral success. But is that really what Volkswagen wanted to accomplish for its Passat? If the American consumer remembers who the spot was for maybe they will rush out and buy one. But then again probably not.