Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

No dearth of Web hits for VW's dinky Darth

Automotive News reports on the success of VW's Darth Vader Super Bowl ad.

VW The Force still
Automotive News
VW The Force still
With help from Dad, mini-Darth works his magic. Automotive News

Eye-popping numbers suggest that even hermits living in caves--if they have laptops--know about "The Force," Volkswagen's ubercute Super Bowl commercial. On top of the 111 million people who watched the game, the spot went way viral: 26 million YouTube hits as of late last week.

The story line: a tyke in a Darth Vader costume tries to make various things around the house spring to life by using The Force, and his sad little shoulders slump when he's unsuccessful. Then he tries his powers on the shiny new 2012 Passat in the driveway--and Dad, through the magic of remote start, makes the kid's day.

Nielsen says the ad got a "likability" rating almost twice as high as the average Super Bowl spot. Brian Thomas, VW of America's brand marketing boss, figures that with YouTube views, Facebook postings, and media links to the ad, VW got 40 percent more exposure than it paid for. He's not saying how much that was, but 30-second game spots were said to go for $3 million.

It probably helped that VW gave the ad a running start: flouting the hush-hush pregame culture of Super Bowl ads, VW put little Darth online a few days before the big game. "The Force" racked up 12.8 million YouTube views by kickoff.

(Source: Automotive News)