Volkswagen has released an extended version of its Super Bowl ad ahead of the Big Game, and it may not be what you expected. While the automaker's teaser hinted toward yet another Star Wars-themed spot after the success of last year's "The Force," the new commercial focuses instead on a pudgy puppy named Bolt. The advertisement's tagline is "Back and better than ever," and Bolt enters into a fitness montage set to some excellent James Brown tunes in order to slim down and chase after the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.

There isn't a single Star Wars reference throughout the whole clip, which may leave fans wondering exactly what that whole chorus of dogs barking in tune to the Empire's theme in the Volkswagen teaser was about. We won't spoil the twist for you, but we will say the 2012 Super Bowl ad heads toward a wretched hive of scum and villainy pretty quickly. Hit the jump for the video, as well as the full press release.

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Featuring the iconic 2012 Beetle, Volkswagen returns to the Big Game with 60-second ad

Herndon, VA (February 1, 2012) – Volkswagen of America, Inc. revealed its new commercial today on its YouTube® channel. Viewers can catch a sneak peek of a special, extended 75-second spot online, with the 60-second version of the ad running in the second quarter of the Big Game. This is the third consecutive year that Volkswagen has advertised on Game Day.

"This is a perfect opportunity for Volkswagen to celebrate with the fans that have made 2011 such a record-setting year for the company," said Tim Mahoney, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "This year's commercial will build on Volkswagen's ability to tell human stories simply while continuing to build on the brand's momentum in the year ahead."

Volkswagen's 2012 Game Day commercial, "The Dog Strikes Back," features a story of an adorable dog named Bolt who is inspired to whip himself into shape by the power and performance of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. The unexpected final moments are a sly wink toward the Star Wars™ theme of Volkswagen's 2011 Game Day commercial "The Force," which became a pop culture phenomenon and has nearly 50 million views on YouTube to date. The theme of the commercial is "Back. And better than ever," which illustrates the success and momentum that the Volkswagen brand is enjoying in the U.S.

Volkswagen's 2012 Game Day campaign kicked off with a teaser distributed in mid-January, entitled "The Bark Side," featuring a choir of dogs barking along to Star Wars' "Imperial March". The teaser quickly became an Internet sensation, garnering over ten million views to date on YouTube. The "Imperial March" is the same John Williams' composition used last year in "The Force."

Following the success of last year's advertisement, Volkswagen and Deutsch LA teamed up with Lucasfilm again to end the latest spot with a surprise twist. The final 15 seconds take place in the iconic Cantina introduced in Star Wars Episode IV, complete with a special appearance by none other than Darth Vader.

"We believe this spot underscores the Volkswagen brand's unmatched advertising legacy. It manages to highlight the redesign and performance of the Beetle with the lighthearted touches that viewers expect from the VW brand," said Mike Sheldon, CEO, Deutsch LA, Volkswagen's creative Agency of Record.

The new ad is part of a multi-faceted campaign for the Big Game, featuring digital and social media activations such as a takeover of ESPN mobile and the YouTube homepage. In mid-January, Volkswagen launched a "Big Game" tab on Facebook that serves as a one-stop shop for all things related to the game, including The Bark Side teaser, the early online release of the ad, an "Intergalactic Invite" allowing users to send Star Wars themed party e-vites to friends for the Big Game, and more.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      Commercial was funny...up until they ruined it with the Star Wars bit. VW, we all love SW, but for the love of god...enough already. George Lucas, please....stop whoring-out the franchise. Makes you look desperate for money to the point of watering down the best thing you created.
      Dennis Baskov
      • 3 Years Ago
      The dog part was cool, the ending was weak.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought this was a nice one. Though dog part alone would have been enough.
      • 3 Years Ago
      For broadcast, I'm pretty sure we won't see the last 15 seconds (the Star Wars stuff). This is just bonus material for the web.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I liked the beginning with the dog. But the end seemed like a completely different ad. Maybe it'll look better when it airs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not watching any of these ads until the Super Bowl - it ruins the surprise. If I want to see them again, I'll come here and watch them.
      • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
        +1, I liked the separate commercials, but to overlap it into this one was over done.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      the dog ad was perfect, the ending ruined it. if the vader kid was in the back of a black beetle, they would've had a genius angle.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree, the ending was a bit forced (no pun intended). As an alternative: the newly fit dog is in pursuit of the Beetle. Camera pans to Vader kid walking in his direction, oblivious to the sprinting dog. Right before they are about to collide, (now in slow-mo) the Vader kid sees the incoming dog, reacts by raising both hands--as if using the Force on the dog--and the dog does an amazing jump (camera from bottom of dog, showing silhouette against sky) over the kid, lands gracefully, and proceeds to keep running. The kid, having fallen on the ground, quickly rises up, startled--and excited--that his Force works on dogs, too. Show VW logo.
      • 3 Years Ago
      the dog ad is nice, but the ending is cooler!
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