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.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Marketplace

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411