The main theme for Volkswagen in its Super Bowl commercials this year was simple: make people feel happy.
Before the Big Game, Volkswagen rolled out an ad entitled "Sunny Side." In the ad, people who had become famous (or infamous) by having mental breakdowns via YouTube joined reggae musician Jimmy Cliff for some singing and dancing in a sunny meadow.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Volkswagen featured a white man from Minnesota with a Jamaican accent telling frustrated co-workers "everything will be alright."
From the angst in an elevator to a malfunctioning vending machine to a gloomy meeting at work, the main character finds ways to see the positives in life.
By the end of the day, he's driving his co-workers around in his Volkswagen Beetle, lifting their spirits along the way. Cliff's song, "C'mon, Get Happy," plays in the background.
Throughout the years, we've seen companies use pure shock value to get attention. While there's certainly nothing ordinary about a white man from Minnesota talking in a Jamaican accent, it wasn't so much shock value for Volkswagen; it was the fact that the company tried to spread a feel-good attitude in its Super Bowl commercials.
It's so simple, yet so genius. In the end, if an ad makes you feel good, you're obviously going to remember it.
As the cost of Super Bowl ads has grown each and every year, more of a priority has been placed on what works for consumers and what doesn't. But it's not that complicated if you think about it. Volkswagen understands that creating a sense of ease for people in a bustling world is just as important as anything.
When you watched Volkswagen's Super Bowl ads, you couldn't help but feel as if the car company couldn't be all that bad, or all that greedy. Instead, you saw a company that appeared to care about the well-being of its customers.
Companies could learn a thing or two from Volkswagen when it comes to producing high-quality commercials.