VW's Super Bowl ad featuring 'Minnesotan' criticized for being "like blackface with voices" [VIDEO]

Categories: Racism
vw SB ad.jpg
This 'Minnesotan' doesn't look Jamaican, but he sure talks like it.
Volkswagen's new Super Bowl ad is set in a Minnesota office building, yet features a white office worker speaking with a thick Jamaican accent.

SEE ALSO: Duluth roiled by two recent blackface incidents [VIDEO]

The idea is he's so enlivened by his new red Volkswagen that he suddenly adopts Bob Marley's worldview, telling his co-workers on a bleak Monday: "No worries, Mon! Every-ting will be all right."

Here's the footage:



The ad has been savaged by critics, including the New York Times's Charles Blow, who described it as "like blackface with voices."

More savagery comes via a USA Today report:
"It's pretty horrific," says Ricki Fairley-Brown, president of the multicultural marketing agency Dove Marketing. "Why do they have a white guy from Minnesota faking a Jamaican accent?"

Even more troubled by the spot is Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief hispanic marketing strategist at Walton Isaacson, an African-American, Gay/Lesbian and Hispanic agency. "What happens in this ad is that the culture becomes a punch line, and that is offensive."

Pop cultural guru Barbara Lippert is not amused, either. "It made me uncomfortable to see all of those white people in an office setting doing this," she says. "I found it offensive."
But casual viewers seem to think critics are making a mountain out of a molehill. A Today Show poll showed that more than 93 percent of viewers liked the spot.

Volkswagen has no plans to pull the ad. "That particular ad we think is really important for these times because VW is a brand that really puts a smile on your face," VW America's Tim Mahoney told CNN.

And for what it's worth, Jamaican officials also don't seem to be offended. Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica's minister of tourism and entertainment, told USA Today that he and his colleagues view the spot "as compliment."

"People should get into their inner Jamaica and get happy," McNeill added. Of course, there are ways to "get into your inner Jamaica" that are a lot cheaper (and probably more effective) than buying a new car.


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37 comments
cris.cannon
cris.cannon

"What happens in this ad is that the culture becomes a punch line, and that is offensive."   

And now the culture has become a punch line to this very story. (linking ways to "get into your inner Jamaica" to ganga joke) Nice.


mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Only ignorant assholes would find this commercial racist. Where were they when White Girls came out on the big screen?

jason.dorweiler
jason.dorweiler topcommenter

VW commercials are pretty entertaining 

hooligan2
hooligan2

It's just fakin Jamaican, no big deal. Skankin Pickle and hundreds of other ska bands have been on this for years!

pthorn01
pthorn01

I guess I have to stop quoting Half Baked "right near da beach, boooiii!" since I am white!

Jeremiah Zortman
Jeremiah Zortman

Interesting, since movies featuring stereotypical Minnesotan accents win Oscars.

Chris Goyette
Chris Goyette

The only thing offensive about Volkswagen is the cost to maintain one.

Kipp Woxland
Kipp Woxland

Complaining about this ad diminishes actual racism.

Anna Anderson Inveen
Anna Anderson Inveen

People are weird. Get upset over something that really matters. Good grief!

McLain Causey
McLain Causey

Christ almighty, calm the fu(k down. What a limp wristed, effete, hypersensitive culture we've become. We will never get past what divides us if we can't lighten up.

Ray Anderson
Ray Anderson

personally it would be way better if every Minnesotan had a Jamaican accent beats the "ya sure ya betcha." anyday lol

Libby Abdo
Libby Abdo

I love this ad - and wish more people around the office had a Jamaican attitude, especially on Mondays!!! Bop Bop!

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

It's not funny and pretty lame, but not racist in my opinion.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

The people offering this criticism are people from Marketing agencies. They are trained to look for what could be seen as a threat to their business. In the same way that a professional painter is trained to look at the brush strokes and understand what Da Vinci was thinking. In other words: The average American won't look at deeply at this commercial and will gloss over any racial undertones that may or may not even exist.

Matthew Fried
Matthew Fried

The worst you could get from this is that people from the Caribbean are happy, which is a generalization, but it's not racist.

CVA_Alumn
CVA_Alumn

Have any of these critics gone to college with suburban white guys? I swear 98% of the people who whole-heartedly commit to a Rasta/Marley lifestyle/worship are white guys. He is the pro-herb, pro-party like a frat boy spokesperson. Very few get anything more than that. Especially, his actual religious or civil rights views.

OrangeAppeal
OrangeAppeal

How could anyone be mad at this? They even threw in a Lock, Stock reference! "Chill, Winston." This ad is awesome and makes me proud to be a VW owner. 

Charles D. Rhoden III
Charles D. Rhoden III

How in the hell does one go about being offended by a voice? Who thinks the NYT writer is in bed with VW to drive the whole "morally outraged" crap?

Joe Strom
Joe Strom

Anyone who's offended by commercial can go fugg themselves.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd

So. Fucking. What. Hyper sensitive white people seem to be the only ones offended by this.

Nick GarSuperstar
Nick GarSuperstar

I'd be willing to bet that VW knew that this could be considered offensive so it leaked the ad before hand to see how bad the reception would be and to create publicity. The commercial was cute but pretty mediocre as far as Superbowl ads go. Now VW knows few are offended and everyone is now discussing it. Brilliant.

Austin Radish Kenworthy
Austin Radish Kenworthy

aren't there white jamaicans? Now every one has to be upset because someone does an accent? Did anyone get upset at Al Pacino's awful accent in Carilto's Way? Quit being so damn sensitive

ludwitr
ludwitr

It has nothing to do with race, at all.  It has everything to do with Bob Marley's lifestyle.  People are morons.

Danette Allrich
Danette Allrich

I love it! Jah mon! We all need to get a little more happy...

Eric Vollen
Eric Vollen

I'm more offended that you misspelled "Volkswagen".

Rhea Rochon-Washington
Rhea Rochon-Washington

I highly doubt the legendary Jimmy Cliff would have lent his voice to that commercial if he thought it was even remotely offensive.

ahugginkiss
ahugginkiss

@Rhea Rochon-Washington Agreed 100%

MichelleBachmann
MichelleBachmann

Even though I am a fat pussy-eating dyke, every once in a while I like being pounded by large uncut black cocks.

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