- "We've partnered with Lucasfilm for the all-new Passat ad, leveraging the emotional heritage of both "Star Wars" and Volkswagen to create a memorable moment."
- ―Tim Ellis, of Volkswagen
"The Force" was a 2011 Volkswagen television commercial that ran during the Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011, although it was first shown on YouTube the week before. In the commercial, a young boy dressed like Darth Vader tries to use the Force on a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. When his father uses the car's remote keyless system to start the vehicle, the shocked boy believes he has successfully used the Force. It proved to be one of the most popular commercials from Super Bowl XLV, and the YouTube video had amassed 15 million views by the morning of February 7. The boy in the commercial was portrayed by the six-year-old Max Page.
During the commercial, a young little boy wearing a Darth Vader costume, without the gloves, walks around his suburban home attempting to use the Force on various household items, including a washing machine, exercise bicycle, dog, baby doll and sandwich. He opens his hands and tries to move the items, but has no success and grows increasingly disappointed with each attempt. Soon his father arrives home, pulling into the driveway in a 2012 Volkswagen Passat. The boy rushes past his father to the car and extends his hands again, trying to use the Force on the vehicle. Unbeknownst to the boy, his father uses the remote keyless switch on his keychain to start the vehicle. When it suddenly starts, the boy is taken aback in shock, believing he has successfully started the car himself with the Force.
The first casting audition for the little boy was held on December 29, 2010. Sixteen finalists were selected for callbacks before six-year-old Max Page was chosen for the part. The boy in the commercial was portrayed by six-year-old Max Page, who had previously appeared in a role on the soap opera The Young and the Restless and few regional commercials, including one for Walgreens pharmacy. Page was born with a congenital heart condition and had a pacemaker installed when he was four-months old, although doctors have said his prognosis has remained positive and a full life is likely with good care. "The Force" was his first appearance in a national commercial. After receiving the role, Page and his parents did not know the commercial would run during the Super Bowl until about halfway through the first day of filming. Tim Ellis, Volkswagen of America's vice president for marketing, said of the filming: "He took directions so well. As we were filming it, I could see it was going to be iconic." Page had never seen the Star Wars films.
"The Force" proved to be one of the most popular commercials from Super Bowl XLV. By the morning of February 7, the commercial had amassed 15 million views on the video-sharing website YouTube. It was highest in a ranking of Super Bowl commercials on the video sharing site Hulu's "Adzone 2011", where it received a 95 percent voter approval rating.
- ↑ "Volkswagon Super Bowl Ad 'The Force' Goes Viral (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. February 6, 2011. Retreived February 7, 2011.
- ↑ Michalik, Art. (February 6, 2011). "VW's "The Force" Super Bowl ad goes viral before the game, viewed by millions". Examiner.com. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- ↑ Well, Brad (February 7, 2011). "Super Bowl 2011: Chrysler 200 And Volkswagen 'The Force' The Top Commercials". Nation. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Sheridan, Michael (February 7, 2011). "Unmasked! Darth Vader commercial's 6-year-old boy, Max Page, becomes Super Bowl XLV star". New York Daily News. Retreived February 7, 2011.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 MacKenzie, Carina Adly (February 7, 2011). "Darth Vader commercial kid revealed: Max Page has never seen 'Star Wars'". Zap2it. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- ↑ Welch, Chance (February 6, 2011). "Super Bowl 2011 / Cowboys Stadium". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retreived February 7, 2011.
- ↑ "Today Show: 2/7/2011". Today, New York City. February 7, 2011.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Woodyard, Chris (February 6, 2011). "Volkswagen's pint-sized Darth Vader is actor Max Page, 6". USA Today. Retreived February 7, 2011.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "Heart Patient From Children's Hospital Is Boy Behind Mask". KAKE. February 5, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- ↑ Geller, Eric (February 7, 2011). Meet the Volkswagen Star Wars Kid". TheForce.net. Retrieved February 7, 2011.