The German automotive company, Volkswagen released their commercial for the 2013 staging of the Super Bowl in the United States. The essence of the advertisement that I interpreted is that German engineering will make you happy.
To get this message across, Volkswagen went along with a Jamaican theme. They had two commercials; one with Jimmy Cliff and some people from popular YouTube videos; and the other had a Caucasian male speaking with a Jamaican accent. The former was meant to be a backup just in case the latter ran into problems with the public.
As Volkswagen anticipated, there were some persons who definitely had a problem with the advertisement, labeling it as racist and disrespectful to Jamaicans. However, the ad became so popular and so many people liked the ad, including Jamaicans that Volkswagen decided to go with their plan A.
In the advertisement, Jamaicans are pretty much represented as happy people who remain positive, despite challenges. Of course, it had a comical element to it, which is a white American man speaking in a Jamaican accent.
Personally, I found no problems with the advertisement. I thought it was funny and good publicity for Jamaica. In an interview about the ad and the controversy surrounding it, black American comedian D.L Hugley noted that he as a black person was not offended by the ad; if anything the ad made him want to listen to some Bob Marley and come to Jamaica.
This reinforces the point that this ad is free, positive publicity that Jamaica badly needed after, the killing of the 8 year old British citizen which went global.
The world is just too sensitive about issues of racism. We need to get to a place where we can make fun of each other and ourselves and laugh at ourselves. As long as it is done in good humor and not hate.
We all need to just calm down, watch the VW ad one more time, and have a good laugh.
Cover photo courtesy tmz.com