” May the force of communication be with you”
By: Bryce Runge
November 18, 2013
For the past fifteen years companies have spent billions of dollars on commercials during half time of the Super Bowl. Companies like Coca Cola, Doritos, Go Daddy, E-trade and many others pour millions of dollars into their commercials in hopes to gain the interest of those tuned into the television. With the half time commercials being the most-watched in history during that time of the year, companies feel it’s the perfect opportunity to strike in order generate more revenue for their products and services offered. These companies have figured out that many viewers tune in just to watch the commercials at half time and skip the Super Bowl itself.
What we know about these commercials and commercials in general, is that they are trying to communicate to the audience what products or services they offer. We see all types of communication being displayed during commercials and many times it’s how things are communicated depicts the outcome and generation of business or lack there of.
In 2011 during the Super Bowl half time, Volkswagen stepped up advertising with a viral success with a heartwarming and hilarious commercial featuring a little boy dressed as Darth Vader better known as “Mini – Darth Vader”. If you notice during the commercial there was no verbal communication (aside from the dog barking) what so ever, however Volkswagen demonstrated a unique and unforgettable non-verbal communication commercial. The commercial featured a boy dressed as Darth Vader trying to control objects with his hands like an elliptical bike, the washer and dryer, a baby doll, a sandwich being made by his mother, a dog and the main feature itself, the Volkswagen Passat.
The young boy was using his hands and body language as a way to communicate to objects and control them. Also, during the commercial we notice the mother and father and even the dog communicate non-verbally. While trying to make a plate with a sandwich on it slide to him with the his hand powers , moms facial expression was hilarious almost as if she was saying “here is your plate, because your powers wont work” and slid the plate over to the boy. Even the dog gave off the raised eyebrow and lip corner pulled back look as the boy stretched his hand toward to the dog in an attempt to make something powerful happen to the dog.
Throughout the commercial the boy also displayed some sad body language after each attempt to control something with his hands failed. At the end of the video as the boy was slouched over in dismay at the table, he heard the dog bark and noticed his dad had just pulled in the drive way. Quickly the boy ran outside as if he was greeting his dad that just got home. His father, who clearly was expecting a welcome home hug, was brushed off the boy and looked completely surprised and confused not only with his body language but his facial expression as well.
Unsuccessful in making the dog move, the washer and dryer run and bypassing his father, the boy rushed to the Passat and seemed more than confidant that his powers would work on the car. After thrusting his hands toward the car, all of a sudden the car started. The boy was shocked and surprised and couldn’t believe his powers had just worked. His body language communicated a wealth of information and as a viewer you could can clearly tell the boy was overly shocked!
After a few double takes from the boy looking toward the house then back to the car still in shock, the screen turns to his mother and father in the kitchen as the dad controlled the car with the remote start button. The dad was more than proud of himself being able to get a rise out of his son, looked at the mother and gave a wink and smile.
The Volkswagen commercial ties in directly to what we cover in our section of nonverbal communication. We are able to express countless emotions without saying a word and facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are some of what we see in the commercial. The way we move and conduct ourselves communicates a wealth of information. This form of communication consists of posture, stance, and slight movements, which we see from the boy as he is slouched over in disappointment after countless attempts to make things move with his hands are unsuccessful.(www.coolpicturegallery.net)
The main nonverbal communicator throughout the commercial is the boys gestures. Gestures are types of communication like facial expression, hand gestures, eye gazing and body posture. During the commercial we catch a glimpse of eye gazing from the mother and father only and not the boy as the he was wearing a mask. We do see a lot of hand gesturing and different body postures from mom, dad and the boy.(http://beamesonfilm.blogspot.com) What I have found is that actions do speak louder than words and majority of the time we are unaware of our nonverbal actions, for example when the boy was sad he drooped his head and shoulders. Nonverbal communication is a behavior, other than articulated or written communication and it truly represents a meaning. The Volkswagen commercial represented that exactly, with no speaking involved what so ever and it still captured the hearts of millions.
The Force: Volkswagen Commercial Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=R55e-uHQna0
Dreier, T. (2011, May 01). The Green Bay Packers weren’t the only winners at the 2011 Super Bowl. Deutsch and Volkswagen won the advertising contest with their Star Wars-themed spot. http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Volkswagens-Mini-Darth-Vader-Ad-Behind-the-Screens-74862.aspx