Volkswagen Tells Critics of 2013 Super Bowl Ad To Chill


  • Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad Picture

    Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad Picture

    Volkswagen's "Get Happy" 2013 Super Bowl advertisement is putting a frown on some faces. | January 30, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Volkswagen's 2013 Super Bowl commercial is generating lots of media scrutiny for what some see as "racist" overtones, given that the main character is a white man with a Caribbean accent.
  • But the German automaker told Edmunds that critics of the "Get Happy" ad are "missing the point."
  • As of Tuesday, Volkswagen of America said it had "received no consumer calls or complaints about our ad" and noted that it had received a "declaration of support" from a government official in Jamaica.

HERNDON, Virginia — Volkswagen's 2013 Super Bowl commercial is generating lots of media scrutiny for what some see as "racist" overtones, given that the main character is a white man with a Caribbean accent.

But the German automaker told Edmunds that critics of the "Get Happy" ad are "missing the point." The ad features the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle and a white man from Minnesota with a Caribbean accent who tries to cheer up unhappy co-workers.

A headline in USA Today on Tuesday summed up the controversy. "VW Jamaica-theme Super Bowl ad: Racist?" it said. The Huffington Post did not couch it in terms of a question. Its headline read: "Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad Accused of Being Racist." One critic told USA Today that culture is the punchline of the ad, which makes it racist.

On Tuesday night, VW's Super Bowl commercial was the focus of a lengthy roundtable discussion during CNN's prime-time news. The bottom line: VW is in the fortunate position of capturing considerable buzz in advance of the big event, despite the negative publicity.

As of Tuesday, Volkswagen of America said it had "received no consumer calls or complaints about our ad" and noted that it had received a "declaration of support" from a government official in Jamaica.

"The message we are trying to convey is about being positive and experiencing the joy of driving a VW," wrote Scott Vazin, a Volkswagen of America spokesman, in response to an e-mailed query by Edmunds on Wednesday. "To take that any other way is missing the point."

Vazin said the Super Bowl commercial was shown to "focus groups with diverse audiences" before it debuted on Monday.

"All online metrics are tracking at over 90 percent in favor of our message," Vazin added.

Edmunds says: Volkswagen's 2013 Super Bowl ad is closing in on nearly 2 million YouTube views in just two days, controversy or no controversy.

Comments

  • nevasca nevasca Posts:

    There is nothing wrong with this Ad... I am from Jamaica in Jamaica and I thought it was a good ad.... Not only black Jamaicans speak Jamaican creole..... It is the language of a country not of a race.... Jamaica's Motto is out of many one people and that is mainly because we are a nation filled with numerous races and no matter your skin color we speak the same and yes we are pretty damn happy. Thank you Volkswagen for putting such a positive light on our culture through mimicry of the language.

  • ks55 ks55 Posts:

    Good for VW and for them standing up to the idiots.

  • ingalook ingalook Posts:

    I'm from the Caribbean, and I take no offence from this ad, plus there is a good chance this guy is actually from Jamaica (it actually is a stereotype that all Jamaicans are dark skinned rastafarian)... In my mind it actually just re-affirms to the world that we are easy going and enjoying life - which for the most part we are :)

  • ingalook ingalook Posts:

    I'm from the Caribbean, and I take no offence from this ad, plus there is a good chance this guy is actually from Jamaica (it actually is a stereotype that all Jamaicans are dark skinned rastafarian)... In my mind it actually just re-affirms to the world that we are easy going and enjoying life - which for the most part we are :)

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