Weeks after Jamaica was on a high following the release of a hotly-debated Volkswagen commercial, a different advertisement by a German entity has fired up Jamaica, literally and figuratively.
Saturn Electronics posted an advertisement on Wednesday which featured the Jamaican flag as well as the background vocals of Murderer, the classic song by Reggae/Dancehall legend, Barrington Levy. At first, two young white men making coffee while listening to music, they accidentally trigger a fire which catches the flag.
In an attempt to stop the fire from spreading throughout the store, one of the men take the burning flag outside and stamp all over it. These actions are captured on a news satellite, feeding pictures of a demonstration sparked near the store in which protesters hold up Jamaican flags while shouting ‘We Love Jamaica.’ In the end, a Jamaican flag is hurled down a high-rise building while the two young men appear stunned by the commotion which surrounds them.
A description under Saturn’s video says, “The new Saturn commercial shows a striking coffee is the trigger for a chain of chaotic circumstances.”
“Director, Martin Werner provides with its action-packed short film of just a little more than a minute, exciting entertainment and shows the crucial role to play proper technique and it offers cinematic scenes and moves simultaneously in a humorous way the technology competence Saturn into focus.”
Despite their attempt at humor, Jamaicans are overwhelmingly displeased with the video, which has garnered over 500,000 hits on YouTube since its release. It has been greeted with a majority of dislikes across the video-sharing site, with many comments taking offense with the desecration of the flag. One comment on YouTube read, I so hate this commercial it should be removed and have them apologize to Jamaica. How can they burn, step on and put our flag on the ground. I don’t care what concept they putting across ... plus they playing the Reggae song murder in the background no...this is sooo DISRESPECTFUL.”
On the contrary, some Jamaicans saw no problem with the ad, with one saying, “Y'all are ridiculous! I am Jamaican and in no way, shape, size or form did I find this commercial disrespectful! The flag accidentally caught afire and the two men tried to out it. The people in the video misinterpreted it and caused an uproar (how ironic) before the fire went out. They hung an even bigger Jamaican flag and had signs saying "We Love Jamaica"... they were defending our Flag.. Wtf are y'all mad about? Just can’t please us! Smh.”
Barrington Levy also responded to the fact his song was used in this ad, telling IRIE FM on Friday that he was gravely offended by Saturn’s ad.
“They got permission to use my song in that advert… they didn’t say what they were going to do with my song but if they did say they were going to use my song to burn my country flag,” he said. “That would be a total disrespect to my thing and my country and my people… not only burning it but trampling it like that is a total disrespect.”
This reaction is in total contrast to the Volkswagen ad which aired during the Superbowl on February 3. Initially cast as racist by American viewers and analysts, Jamaicans were pleased with the ad, which saw a white man speaking Jamaican patois to his compatriots at work, even receiving plaudits from Prime Minister, the Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller. The ad's centrepiece, Erik Nicolaisen was recently welcomed to Jamaica to shoot a series of promotional pieces for the Jamaica Tourist Board.