The Super Bowl, a German car, some dogs, Star Wars and the future of PR in our age

Lots of people will argue that this is not a stunt. That the subject of this week’s Antics Roadshow is in fact an ad. And they would be right.

But I would contend that my view, which is that this is an ad that is also a PR stunt – albeit one on a rather epic scale – holds equally true. And that it is my interpretation of this piece of work that points to a more interesting underlying factor in the happy world of our industry.

For those who have not seen it, VW has (repeating the runaway success of its The Force viral campaign) unleashed more Star Wars-related nonsense onto the web in the shape of this stunt (or viral, piece of digital marketing as you prefer) ... 


Understood that?

Thought not.

By way of explanation, what you have just watched is a lot of dogs dressed as characters from Star Wars. They sing part of the theme tune. Then there is a VW logo and the brand’s legend.

Still lacking for clarity?

This is a “teaser” for the brand’s Super Bowl – or Gameday – ad in the States.

At something in the region of $1-3 million a pop to take a spot during American Football’s biggest night, the campaigns launched by brands have become increasingly epic.

This, however, is the perfect stunt to launch just such a campaign.

Released three days ago, it has generated over 3 million views at the time of writing. It has also chalked up coverage across the world’s media (national media in countries where this ad will never even air on television are writing about this video – a “trailer” for that very piece of advertising).

And the PR work around the campaign has been flawless – traditional, old-fashioned, pull-a-story-apart-and-milk-every-angle stuff.

From the cost of a spot that the final ad will run in to references to the already-successful predecessor, from the explanation of the dogs’ costumes and their references to the speculation about what the final spot might feature. So far, I’m seeing something in the region of 1,200 pieces of editorial coverage worldwide.

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