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VW Super Bowl Ad Accused Of Racism [Video]

VW Super Bowl commercial

Is VW’s 2013 Super Bowl ad racist? Decide for yourself after you watch it below.

Media outlets are questioning whether or not the new VW Super Bowl ad is racist, with The New York Times‘ Charles Blow describing it as being “like blackface with voices.” So what’s wrong with it?

It portrays a random white guy who insists on speaking to everyone he comes into contact with in a Jamaican accent. The infectious affectation goes viral amongst his circle of friends and co-workers, and pretty soon, every white person in the ad is speaking in a mock-Jamaican accent.

Among the criticism afforded the VW ad, Wall Street Journal‘s Christopher John Farley said that the accent is a problem because it’s “coming out of people who seemingly weren’t supposed to be from Jamaica, so it was done as a joke.” He even called the VW ad the “Jar Jar Binks of 2013.”

You can’t really get much worse than that.

Unless of course you’re VW America marketing officer Tim Mahoney, who was charged with defending the controversial ad. He told Soledad O’Brien (who liked the ad) that they worked really hard on making sure those Jamaican accents sounded perfect.

“We actually talked to about 100 Jamaicans in the research, and we had a speech coach on site to make sure it was authentic as possible,” he said.

The implication being that if the ad were racist, any of the 100 Jamaicans you have on hard would raise a complaint about it. I get it, sure. But you can’t say “this ad isn’t racist because the accents are accurate,” because that’s not the issue!

But it’s on you to decide, dear reader. Watch the VW Super Bowl ad below. What do you think? Funny or racist?

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25 Responses to “VW Super Bowl Ad Accused Of Racism [Video]”

  1. Frank Burns

    Just in case any remaining human being on the planet still gave any credence to allegations of "racism," or evcen believed that the word had any meaning at this point.

  2. Monia Morant

    Whomever thinks this ad is racist is RIDICULOUS and IGNORANT! There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it's cute and happy, as it portrays. I do not drive a VW but if the ad is to portray happiness driving a VW, then they (VW) did a good job of showing that. So what if a white guy is singing a reggae song? White people visit Jamaica very often and love trying to speak the dialect and that is a FACT! And when did reggae music represent black people? Jamaica is a diverded place with different races. As the Jamaican Coat of Arms state "Out of many, one people".

  3. Tracey Y. Perrin

    I've never seen this before, but think it's cute and funny.

  4. Anonymous

    German car company, German Advertising company, and because none of the Jamaicans complained it is ok. Everybody is trying to make a living now and I'm sure nobody was going to ruffle any feathers. It is sad that they have to use the old racist stereotypes, whether visually or verbally, to get an audience. If they had any grace they would pull the ad, but I'm not holding my breath as I suspect they know their audience.

  5. Karen Chin

    I saw the commercial and loved it!.shared it with my FB friends and lived it too.Theres nothing racist about the commercial . Ian a Jamaican and I've seen identical scenarios several times.

  6. Thorton Beech

    Nothing is wrong with the ad nat a ting man mi like it fi real

  7. Karen Chin

    @Thorton.. I agree with you. The Race cards is so over worked and tired . Give it a rest!.. For those who are clueless , Jamaica is a multicultural country, many different faces many different .Red, Yellow,black , white, you name the color.. Which is why our Motto is "Out of many we are One"..(many different races becoming one country).. I guess some people are so busy being ignorant they didn't notice .. The comnercial is Kool and the vibes Irie.. Nothing racist about it!.. Lighten up ppl!

  8. Cee Cee

    The problem Karen is that they do not realise that we have "white Jamaicans"

  9. Thorton Beech

    We, those of us from the island really don't see "color" the same way black Americans do. We embrace the differences in people and "we" find it quite funny when someone like that guy from Minnesota try his hand at the dialect, patois.

  10. Dennis Wilson

    I would be the first to condemn this add if there were issues putting us Jamaican in a negative light, but I didn't! Karen u have to understand the history of Hollywood and there negative stereotype of Blacks, from the days of Amos and Andy to birth of a Nation… We have to vigilant at all times.

  11. Dennis Wilson

    In addition Cee Cee. If its the Jamaica that I know, racism was alive and well blatantly, practice by most almost every other hue other than Blacks! I can list all the high Schools, Banks, Churches, Neighborhoods, politicians and stores in Jamaica that practice racism at all levels…

  12. Karen Chin

    Who this woman speaking for all Jamaicans?.. Bet she had never been to Jamaica.. She would've know there are white Jamaicans, Chinese Indian, Mideastern. .to name a few..

  13. Maureen Smart

    As a black woman I don't see anything wrong with that. There are movies e.g., Meet Joe Black with Brad Pitt and it was damn funny. I don't recall anyone complained. We are soooooo sensitive. Sometimes I try talking in another accent too. Don't want to lose sight of the cases that are blatant acts of racism though.

  14. Dawn Christie-VanHorne

    It funny noh brute..Thanks Vw for showing off mi kuntry n mi kulture.
    Ppl 'turn the frown di adda way around' and 'chill.'

  15. Dawn Christie-VanHorne

    It funny noh brute..Thanks Vw for showing off mi kuntry n mi kulture.
    Ppl 'turn the frown di adda way around' and 'chill.'

  16. Orlene Scott-Dixon


  17. Esther Morris-davis

    KC..I only know bout racism after I left Jamaica..I actually like the AD

  18. Chantelle Westlock

    this is actually one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Also some people seem to be completely unaware of this.. but Jamaica has people of EVERY RACE, and I mean EVERY.

  19. Jonathan Priest

    Christopher John Farley is the coulmnist for WSJ who is actually Jamaican is pulling the race card. He was born in Jamaica but raised in New York. The race card is sooooo over used and abused. I agree with you Karen. I have never been to Jamaica but I've known native Jamaicans when I was in Boston and I showed them this. They got such a kick out of it. The commercial is purely positive. Great vibes :-)

  20. Keelah-Demone Allen

    i like it…lol..they thinkin way too deep…they forget that we have white jamaicans too…its not that serious

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