And they didn’t even need to break out the light sabers. A sly mix of nostalgia and humor (with a twist of a raised eyebrow to finish), Volkswagen’s Little Darth Vader ad is shaping up to be the fan favorite of this year’s Super Bowl.

Take One Small Child

Most ad agencies tasked with selling cars start with a basic template. Take a beefy, throttle-charged vehicle, add a faceless man behind the wheel and hurtle both down mountain roads. (See Chevy’s witty take on this with their Camaro ad.)

Volkswagen took a different path this year. Like E-Trade, they went with the sure-fire bet for all advertising – a cute kid. If you’ve ever found yourself singing the Oscar Meyer Weiner song or exclaiming, “Hey Mikey, he likes it!” you’ll know that a pint-sized spokesman is no joke.

Add Nostalgia

What’s more, after paying what I’m assuming were extortionate royalty fees, Volkswagen mind-melded their youngster with one the most beloved movies of all time.

Not only is Star Wars a great movie, it’s a technology-driven, science fiction story that women also loved.  Which is also, I might add, is just the kind of story Volkswagen would want to tell about their cars.

Mix with Music

As with the almost equally popular Black Beetle ad, Volkswagen knows that you don’t need words to sell products. Combine John Williams’ score with the image of a child trying to mind control the family dog, and you’re in the money.

And Don’t Forget I am Your Father

But what really sealed the deal for this one was the Dad. Like Darth, we’ve all been there, stomping around the house with our He-Man sword or screeching down the stairs with our Batman’s cape flying.

The only difference is we may not have had Superman as our father – wry, good-looking and with the best car on the block.

Which other ads did or did not use appropriate force?