Volkswagen Super Bowl Commercial: Breaking Down Newest Ad

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 30, 2013

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen (Picture is a screenshot of commercial, via
Photo courtesy of Volkswagen (Picture is a screenshot of commercial, via

Volkswagen is putting a lot on the line with its newest Super Bowl ad.

Like, "$10 million" a lot. 

According to USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz, the German car-making company likely sunk 10 million big ones—although the official number is unknown—into its one-minute spot that will air during the biggest sporting event of the year:

This isn't just any commercial. It's Volkswagen of America's one-minute Super Bowl spot. Usually secretive VW let USA TODAY behind the scenes to observe the filming of this spot three weeks before the Feb. 3 big game. The pressure is hotter than the unforgiving spotlights. VW won't say what it's spending. But with the price of commercial airtime on the CBS game broadcast and the cost of producing and promoting the spot and its social-media teaser, Volkswagen could spend close to $10 million — far more than any other single marketing expense on tap for the German carmaker in 2013.

Yes, that figure includes the multi-million dollar price of simply buying airtime during the big game, and yes, the Super Bowl provides the single biggest stage—and it's not even close—for large companies to market their brand, but $10 million is a whole lot of moolah. 

In fact, you could buy 414 Jetta SELs with Navigation with that kind of money. 

So, was it all worth it? Take a look and find out for yourself:

I, for one, love it.

VW is taking a significantly large risk moving away from the Star Wars spots (here and here for your nostalgic viewing pleasure), and this newest ad, in my opinion, isn't quite as funny, although the guy's pronunciation of "ten thousand lakes" is pure gold and the entire thing seems to get more enjoyable every subsequent time you watch it. 

But comedy genius isn't the goal of this commercial. 

The goal is to make you feel happy, and Volkswagen passes with flying colors.

Whether it's because of the big Minnesotan with a thick Jamaican accent having no worries in the workplace, or maybe because you begin to think of Danny Bonaduce and The Partridge Family when "Come On Get Happy" starts blasting, it's impossible not to smile at least a little bit.

Volkswagen is putting a lot on the line here, and ad critic, media consultant and humorist Bob Garfield sums up the potential risk perfectly (via USA TODAY's report):

"It's like borrowing money from your father-in-law," he says. "The implications of not paying him back are unthinkable."

In this case, VW borrowed a lot of money, but judging by the very early buzz and expected positive reception on Sunday, the massive company will be able to pay him back—and then some.