University of South Carolina

Super ad: VW ‘Darth Vader’ wins Cocky Award

With their cheese heads and terrible towels put away, students at the University of South Carolina have cast their votes and declared Volkswagen Passat’s “Darth Vader” this year’s Cocky Award winner for best commercial in the eighth annual Super Ad Poll.

The USC poll ended in a tie with half of 60 students in Bonnie Drewniany’s “Super Bowl Advertising” class choosing the VW spot about a little boy who believes he has magical powers. The other half chose Doritos “House Sitter,” an ad about a man who brings his roommate’s grandfather back from the dead.

Ultimately, the winner was determined by the online version of the Super Ad Poll, where other students, alumni and the community rate the commercials using the same criteria.

“This is the first time ever we have had a tie,” said Drewniany. “We saw a lot of slapstick humor last night that fell short in resonating with viewers. In the end, it was the sweet, kinder and gentler humor of VW’s ‘Darth Vader’ that people liked.”

The class gathered at Ifra/Newsplex in the SC-ETV building to critique the national ads that aired during Super Bowl XLV for likeability, persuasiveness and brand identity.

“Volkswagen had the best two ads of the night with the VW Passat with ‘mini Darth Vader’ and VW Beetle with, well, a beetle,” said Brock Henderson, a senior visual-communications major.

Senior Jonathan Williams, a political-science major, voted for Doritos. “The Doritos ad was funny and had strong brand identity,” he said.

Doritos “House Sitter” and Chrysler “Detroit Tribute” took second and third place, overall, respectively.

Lauren Bovit, a senior majoring in business, said scoring the ads helped her apply what she has learned about advertising.

“I like the method for scoring the advertisements because it shows the different elements of what a commercial is about and how it appeals to the consumer,” she said.

Drewniany will invite the creator of the winning ad to campus to receive the award in April.

Every year the winning advertising team has come to campus to claim the Cocky Award and give students the inside scoop on how the commercial was made.

Creative teams from DDB Chicago have claimed four Cockys for comedic Bud Light ads. Last year marked the first time a consumer-generated spot won the poll, with “Snack Attack Samurai” creator Cole Koehler claiming his prize.

“I really enjoyed rating the commercials. It made you analyze if the advertising space and money spent were put to good use,” said Keri Goff, a senior majoring in visual communications.

Drewniany has studied Super Bowl advertising for nearly 20 years and has taught the nation’s only course on the subject for eight years. The School of Journalism and Mass Communications course, which covers advertising principles and the relationship between culture and advertising, includes the annual Ad Poll and Cocky Award.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 02/07/11 @ 3:00 PM | Updated: 02/07/11 @ 3:11 PM | Permalink