This past week a few people created a large back-lash in claiming that the new Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial 2013 was “racist.” Different news sources such as the Today Show and the New York Times (courtesy of Daily Mail UK) stated that the Volkswagen commercial themed “Get Happy” with a tall white guy, we will call him Minnesota Dave, speaking in a Jamaican accent was “black-face with a voice.” Following this story all week; there has been nothing but major support for Volkswagen, the commercial, and for Jamaica itself.
Dr Claire Nelson, the Jamaican-born president of the Washington-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and the Caribbean Heritage Organisation (CHO), said “In one fell swoop, the ad directors have superimposed Jamaicans’ reputation for being hardworking — the three jobs archetype — as well as [for] our reputation for having a laid-back, positive, don’t-worry-about-a-thing disposition through the character of the Volkswagen.”
Dr. Nelson also said what her group found “problematic and bordering on offensive are the mostly non-Jamaican critics”, who contend that the commercial is racist, “with some going as far as saying that it’s like putting a black face on a white or Asian person”.
Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill said Jamaica can benefit significantly from the Super Bowl ad. “I think this is a very creative commercial, which truly taps into the tremendous appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally.”
There are no plans by Volkswagen to pull the ad, “As of this morning, we received no consumer calls or complaints about our ad,” said spokesman Scott Vazin on Wednesday.
You can read more about how the outlook on the Volkswagen Super Bowl Commercial has been here: