There’s an old adage that says any publicity is good publicity, and that is what Volkswagen thinks of the controversy its ad is causing.
When VW pre-released its upcoming Super Bowl spot, some critics called it racist. Yah, mon. Da white bloke, he talk like dis. So, mon: Is it racist for him to speak dat way?
The commercial features a tall, white fellow — identified in the ad as a Minnesotan, to further emphasize the contrast — speaking like a no-worries Jamaican to cheer up his glum office mates. To the tune of C’mon Get Happy, the ad delivers the new VW slogan, “Get in. Get Happy.” It conveys the message that driving in a VW can turn any crummy day into a happy one.
“The NERVE of Volkswagen to insinuate with their commercial that Jamaican people are happy & fun-loving . . . Boy, that’s just rude.. And racist,” GOPFashionista tweeted sarcastically.
The company will spend $8 million to air its 60 second commercial, and says some people may be over-thinking it.
“If you look at the whole intent of the commercial for us, it’s about making people happy,” said Scott Vazin, a VW spokesman. “The idea is to put a smile on your face. It’s simple and human and humorous. Accents don’t have a color.”
The company tested the commercial with consumers, including about 100 Jamaicans, and got no negative feedback.
Vazin said the company “never set out to be controversial” with the ad. “It’s always your intent to get attention, but there are different kinds of attention. I don’t think this is harming us, based on the feedback we’ve gotten.”