Volkswagen is notorious for having some of the best Super Bowl commercials each year (see the Star Wars ad from last year), and 2013 is shaping up to be no different with the company’s new controversial spot titled, "Get In. Get Happy."
According to Adam Edelman of the New York Daily News, the reportedly $8 million, one-minute ad has caused quite a stir because of the main character’s thick Jamaican accent that he uses throughout the commercial.
The main character is a 30-something while male, and the Jamaican accent he is using is being portrayed as racist. It was even dubbed as “blackface with voices” by columnist Charles Blow on CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien (h/t Adam Edelman).
While the beauty of America is that everyone can have their own opinion, this video should not be construed as racist in any way. The Jamaican culture has been used in advertisements for the happy demeanor associated with their people.
As seen in the VW commercial, the man with the accent is spreading happiness; there is nothing negative about this at all.
The main character is simply inspired by his new 2013 Volkswagen Beetle, and the voice is a way to exemplify the upbeat feeling he has inside. As the main character goes around the office full of workers clearly feeling the effects of a new work week, he brings cheer to their day by giving them advice in his thick accent.
The funniest portion of the ad comes when the main character is asked if he is from Minnesota, and he convincingly states in the Jamaican voice, “Yessa, the land of 10,000 lakes. The Gopher State!”
While the commercial won’t make the normal fan laugh out loud, the advertisement successfully makes the average viewer smile, at the very least.
Add in the cool sounds of Jamaican artist Jimmy Cliff doing his rendition of “C'mon, Get Happy," and there isn’t much not to like about this commercial.