Some people watch the Super Bowl to see a battle between titans. Others gather to enjoy $3 million-a-pop commercials. I, however, tune in to arbitrarily select one such at and critique it within an inch of its life.

The Volkswagon Passat spot featuring a child dressed as Darth Vader honing the Force picked up quite a bit of viral traction in the days leading up to this year’s Super Bowl. Popular sentiment pegged the ad as “cute” and “endearing.” I, however, see it for what it is: shameless brand and icon appropriation for a classless marketing ploy.
In the spot (which you can view here: javascript:nicTemp();), a costumed child moves around his house practicing telekinesis on various objects — a doll, a sandwich, a Labrador — to no avail, until his father comes home in their VW Passat. The boy tries the Force on the car, the father activates the parking lights remotely and little Vader thinks he has done something spectacular.
The first issue should be obvious: for a car commercial, what does remote activation have to do with how good the car is? Simply: it doesn’t. VW is merely exploiting the adorability of a child with the recognition of the “Star Wars” villain (and its score) to promote their product.