Jul 3, 2011

Attack of the VW Ad Clones

During this year's Superbowl Weekend, Deutsch launched "The Force," a successful TV spot for the 2012 VolksWagon Passat.

It ranked highly on the Superbowl Ad Meters. The video above was a huge viral success with over 40 million views to date. It also won a Gold Film Lion at Cannes.

It found success through the use of nostalgia (the iconic Star Wars Imperial March Theme by John Williams) combined with a storyline involving a cute little Darth Vader who's having a hard time mastering "The Force" - until his father helps him out with the VW Passat beeper.


Fast forward to this week, where Greenpeace - unable to conjure up any original message of its own, decided to target VW.

Here is the viral video launched at the start of the week.

A second segment was released on the same day.

These videos were released in several different language versions.

OK. So the little Chewbacca, Leia and Lando are also cute. The VW logo is displayed on the recreation of the "Death Star". The clips use real imagery and footage from the Star Wars films.

A few questions... If they went to all this trouble to make these clips, why is the Death Star ray still green?

And why did Greenpeace single out VW in this "Dark Side" campaign?

Looking at the statement on Greenpeace's website, it is clear this was aimed at a European audience - and yet they chose to parody an American viral / TV spot. The message they are attempting to convey is that "VW is opposing key European laws that we need if we are going to save our planet from climate change".

Greenpeace "Dark Side" Guerrilla Banner
for the half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herders.

Greenpeace have also taken to guerrilla tactics by throwing banners over existing billboards advertising other unrelated brands such as Budweiser and Schweppes in London. The VW logo is positioned over Darth Vader's mouth.


Unlike Deutsch and VW, Greenpeace failed to get the rights to Star Wars copyrighted material from Lucasfilm.

As a result, the two "Dark Side" vids were pulled from their site and YouTube (the ones I have embedded above are reposts from other YouTube users and may not last). There are also copies posted on Vimeo but these will most likely be pulled again due to copyright infringement.

The use of the VW logo may also be a breach of copyright laws.

It appears that Greenpeace never completed their training in legal issues. Their viral videos didn't even last a full week - granted there are "shadow" copies still floating around. The billboard banners have most likely already been removed.

If this planet is really headed towards the dire straits "sky-falling-in" catastrophe that they've successfully labelled as Climate Change, why are they resorting to cheap, underhanded tactics to get their message across?

Did it work?

Will VW be persuaded to change their perceived anti-environmental policies?

IMHO this is a poor effort by Greenpeace. Unoriginal and unimaginative. Did they employ an ad agency or did they come up with this all by themselves?

Their campaigns are becoming more and more militant around the globe.

To Greenpeace, I offer these words of wisdom, as delivered by Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back" -

"Wars not make one great."