Volkswagen's Super Bowl ad has been causing quite a stir since it was released. The commercial, which features the Beetle Turbo and a white, Minnesota man speaking with a superimposed Jamaican accent, has caused many to label the ad as "racist." But two Caribbean cultural groups have come forward to defend VW.

The U.S.-based Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Caribbean Heritage Organization issued a statement supporting the ad. "We find the commercial amusing and indeed a fascinating example of subtlety in subliminal messaging," the statement said. "In one fell swoop, the ad directors have superimposed Jamaicans' reputation for being hardworking . . . as well as our reputation for having a laid back, positive, don't-worry-about-a-thing disposition on the character of the Volkswagen. And yes, the accent in the commercial is not perfect, but it certainly is recognizable."

The controversy boiled over when New York Times columnist Charles Blow, for example, blasted the ad on a CNN segment, saying, "I don't like it at all. It's like blackface with voices."
Is the Volkswagen Super Bowl ad racist?
Yes 761 (6.3%)
No 11291 (93.7%)


John Farley of the Wall Street Journal referred to the ad as reminiscent of Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars. Ad critic Barbara Lippert blasted the ad on The Today Show.

Volkswagen responded to the allegations of racism in a statement released Tuesday.

"His accent is intended to convey a relaxed, cheerful demeanor while encouraging a positive attitude as the antidote to a tough Monday. Everyone can relate to being in an office and being ground down by the pressures of work and 'Get Happy' brings an optimistic, bright spirit into an otherwise mundane day."

Volkswagen has said it intends to run the ad during the big game.

AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley who previously worked on two automotive car accounts at big ad agencies said that racism can be hard to define in ads because of varying sensitivities, but that the VW ad did not seem to cross any lines. "When I first saw this ad, I had no sense of it being racist. As someone who has been to both Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands on vacation, I can attest that there is a spirit and life attitude that is reflected in the patois of the islands. Coming from the U.S., you tend to embrace it, and even pick up the patois whether you are white, black, brown, yellow or red. It's fun. And when you come home, you may even slip into that feeling, wishing you were back in the islands."

What do you think? Is the ad racist? Watch the commercial above and let us know what you think.





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  • 493 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love it, it's a funny commercial!
      radxone
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anyone looking at ads like this with racism in mind in order to stir up trouble doesn't have enough to do.
      sylvabugg2
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not all Jamaicans are black. Much ado about nothing.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This ad should have been used! I was just so excited over the ad. Been to Jamaica 7 times and like i said this is the best!
      • 2 Years Ago
      what the hell is racist about this commercial??is it because jamacians are black, well guess what f__ __k the black idiots!!!! if it was about whites that would be just fine..again f_ _ k them.american people are sick of your sh-t get over it we have too.
      DocLagos
      • 2 Years Ago
      Shows the IGNORANCE
      liemc
      • 2 Years Ago
      Vokswagon is a German company and we all know Germans are not racists, just ask the Jews.
      Jimmy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are ALL the damn SuperBowl ads out NOW?? whatever happened when you actually saw a commercial for the first time ON THE ACTUAL FRIGGIN' TV??? Do they leak it a week before the game so people can talk all the smack they want BEFORE the damn game??? I DON'T GET IT!!!
      Sleek
      • 2 Years Ago
      What's the problem? I loved the entire commercial, and I usually hate commercials.
      BNEVIN
      • 2 Years Ago
      This pathetically, politically correct driven, country is getting SO thin skinned, you can't say anything about anyone. It is driven by the media and needs to be renounced for the bull it is.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Racist huh i don't know , i do know its STUPID
      Roger Baack
      • 2 Years Ago
      There jealous because they didn't think about it.
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