Early Super Bowl Ad’s a Hit: Volkswagen’s ‘Canine Choir’ Barks ‘Star Wars’ Theme

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Every year, in addition to the battle between the two teams on the field at the Super Bowl, there’s a battle among advertisers to see which company comes up with the most memorable, most brilliant, and most hilarious commercial. This year’s big game is still two weeks away, and yet an ad from one automaker has already all but been declared the winner for best Super Bowl commercial. After all, how can anyone compete with a pack of dogs barking out the tune of the “Imperial March” from “Star Wars”?

In last year’s Super Bowl, Volkswagen scored big among viewers of all ages with “The Force,” an ad featuring a young child in a Darth Vader outfit trying his hand at using the Force on various objects and creatures. (It eventually works on a VW Passat, with the help of his dad’s remote starter.)

“The Force” leaked a few days before the Super Bowl of 2011, generating 14 million views before it aired on TV, and eventually became the year’s top viral ad campaign, with more than 60 million views online.

(LIST: The Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials of 2011)

Building on the success of the past, not to mention the “Star Wars” theme, Volkswagen has released a teaser ad more than two weeks before the Super Bowl of 2012. Essentially, it’s an ad advertising an upcoming ad.

And it’s phenomenally popular, generating publicity everywhere from the Los Angeles Times to U.S. News to, well, TIME. Less than two days after the ad surfaced on YouTube, it’s generated nearly 3 million views.

Enough with the back story, though. We know you just want to watch the thing already.

Here’s the ad, which is named “The Bark Side” and features the “Volkswagen canine choir”—dogs dressed up as Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and various other “Star Wars” characters made to sound like they’re barking the famous “Imperial March” theme. Look out for the Wookie-esque pooch who is dubbed to make a classic Chewbacca-like howl, and the AT-AT dog at the end.


Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.