A controversial VW ad has aired during last night’s Super Bowl despite some allegations the spot was racist and, prior to its release, that it rubbed some folk the wrong way.
The controversial VW ad depicts a white officer worker, strolling around a glum workplace. As he encounters a series of bummed out colleagues, he reassures them in a Jamaican accent as the reggae version of “C’mon, Get Happy” plays in the background.
It seems the controversial VW ad was well received despite he complaints that the spot was “blackface with voices.” Mediaite spoke with Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for VW, who explained the company’s choices in airing the ad.
Speaking with Soledad O’Brien on CNN’s Starting Point, Mahoney admits he himself was a bit worried about the controversial VW ad’s potential for offense, but he ultimately said the company felt the commercial would be taken as intended. He explains:
“You take some risks in that, right? You start with a white guy and the Jamaican accent … I have to say that I love it, but my first take at the beginning was like ‘hmm’ with the Jamaican accent.”
Mahoney also said:
“We obviously did our homework to make sure we weren’t offensive. So we did some research to make sure we weren’t going into a direction we didn’t want to go.”
The controversial VW ad includes reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, who covered a Partridge Family song in the spot, further making it palatable to those who might take offense. The punchline to the spot, seen below, is a final co-worker of the Jamaican poser asking the fellow, “hey, Dave… you’re from Minnesota, right?”