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Feel the Power of the Bark Side

Yes, it’s true, Volkswagen has finally realized exactly what its target market wants: dogs barking the Imperial Theme from the Star Wars movies. In a piece of viral marketing so brilliant it’s annoying — even above and beyond how annoying it is to hear dogs barking familiar classics — two beloved companies (Volkswagen and Lucasfilm) have proven themselves to be consummate media whores, shamelessly offering consumers a “double” for the price of nothing. Only, as you probably know, when real whores offer a double, they usually take precautions against viruses, especially if it’s a freebie. Here, I’m left infected with a viral earworm that is as incurable as it is adorable.

Of course, anything involving animals online, no matter how cute, inspires accusations of animal cruelty. It generates some bizarrely incoherent comments:

One illustrative comment:

would you please tell me why it is cruel to make a dog bark?

Its response:

Because my dad always makes puppy go loud. I mean loudest before he cooks them…. do you have problemo???

Wow, people rock! In case you’re one of those (apparently many) people worried that these pooches have been hooked up to some insidious device that makes them bark on command with a certain pitch, uhhhh…no. The footage is created by clever audio looping, not animal experimentation…just like the world’s most annoying Christmas recording, of dogs barking “Jingle Bells.”

There’s also the obligatory “responses” — from people who videotaped their dogs’ responses to the Imperial Theme video. It’s almost as if Volkswagen and Lucasfilm knew that consumers would take over their work for them.

Well played, Herr Vader. Well played.

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