One of the most discussed ads going into the Super Bowl was a Volkswagen spot that had drawn charges of being culturally insensitive or even racist, but viewers appeared to disagree with those claims Sunday night.
Critics made much ado about the commercial that featured a white American from Minnesota speaking Jamaican patois in a broad accent. The American, an office worker who owns a new Volkswagen Beetle, tries to cheer up his colleagues by uttering happy phrases.
The worker then takes his colleagues for a ride in his new VW. Their demeanors improve dramatically.
The spot, titled “Get Happy,” is set to Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff’s rendition of “C’mon, Get Happy,” the theme song from the TV series “The Partridge Family.”
Some billed the ad as racist, but many on Twitter apparently did not agree. A few Twitter users questioned the tone of the commercial, but most who saw it during tonight’s Super Bowl were appreciative.
“I don’t see how that was racist #vw #SBcommercials” noted @NicoleWitherell . @mesgreene wrote that she loved the commercial: “In no way do I feel it’s racist, stupid media. Always a negative dig on a positive idea. #Goodvibes”
And Jamaicans apparently agree. In fact, the island’s government is behind the spot.
“I think this is a very creative commercial which truly taps into the tremendous appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally,” Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill has said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
Volkswagen has stood by the commercial. Since it was posted to YouTube on Jan. 27, the commercial has been viewed more than 7 million times.