A Jamaican defends Volkswagen Super Bowl ad: No frowns, just smiles
“Don’t fret meh Breddah, sticky bun, come soon!”
“Wicked coffee, Mr. Jim!” (Holding the cup, “I Love Good Vibes”)
“You want to come with I?”
Volkswagen tells the story of a white corporate office worker from Minnesota who inspires his co-workers with his intoxicating Jamaican accent and the happy spirit and good vibes of his VW Beetle.
Unfortunately, America has spun itself into a “cloud on a sunny day” and stirred a cup of blinded controversy of racial identity versus satirical inferences. Since its debut online this week, Volkswagen’s #Get Happy Superbowl ad, featuring the background track of Jamaican iconic reggae singer Jimmy Cliff catapulted to over two million views on Youtube and grabbed the headlines of local talk and variety shows. In reality, there should be zero controversy.
Absolutely none, Bossman.
Simply, in order to appreciate the brilliance in this ad, you must have some insightful, connective, or birthright familiarity of Jamaican culture and language. As one of the world’s happiest nations on Earth, Jamaica is renowned for its positive vibes and effervescent spirit in its music and the personality of its people. As a result of this reputation, Volkswagen tapped a Jamaican music icon to adopt these same values for the spirit of their VW Beetle. Unfortunately, the beauty of the ad’s homage to Jamaican language and identity is manufactured in controversy only because the main actor is white. The ad would have faded into the “black” if it was the opposite.
Tell deh truth, Bossman.
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