Last week, Volkswagen released a Super Bowl teaser featuring reggae icon Jimmy Cliff encouraging a throng of YouTube meltdown stars to cheer up. The video did its job by scoring tons of pre-game buzz for the brand. Not long after that, VW released it’s 60-second in-game commercial. The spot features a tall, shirt-and-tie white guy who uses a spot-on Jamaican accent to encourage his bummed out co-workers to “Get happy.”
If you ask me, it’s hilarious, and just the right combination of feel good and funny (not too much of either one) that helped VW break through the traffic jam of car ads in the Big Game in recent years and win the SpotBowl title in 2011 and 2012.
Only thing is, not everyone is a fan of the spot. Some are calling it racist. To be fair, most of the people calling it racist are uptight critics. In an online poll by the Today show, 93 percent of viewers liked the spot.
Oh, and its newest fan? The entire nation of Jamaica.
The island’s government has endorsed the commercial, according to the Miami Herald. Sure, they could be endorsing it because it paints such a positive picture of the island’s culture and will likely result in at least a small bump in tourism dollars. Or they could be endorsing it because, like the ad suggests, Jamaicans are a generally cheerful bunch who don’t get all worked up over a 60-second TV commercial.