German car manufacturer Volkswagen has come under fire over a new $10 million Super Bowl commercial that is expected to air Feb. 3.
The ad in question centers on an extremely happy Caucasian man who bizarrely speaks with a thick Jamaican accent. The man's happiness is infectious to those around him and whenever he sees a stressed out coworker he shoots them over words of encouragement.
"No worries mon! Every-ting will be alright," the man says at the beginning of the ad. His words are reminiscent of the popular Bob Marley reggae song.
The ad ends with the man cruising around in his Colkswagen with two stressed-turned-happy coworkers. The VW is evidently the source of everyone's happiness.
The ad's statement is said to be "Driving a VW will make you happy," according to USA Today's Bruce Horovitz.
While some viewers have hailed the ad as "funny," critics have questioned whether it enforces stereotypes. The ad was recently a hot topic on social networking site Twitter.
"I can't be the only person who thinks VW's Super Bowl ad is verging on racist? Or at the very least, lazy stereotypes," James Ould tweeted.
"Lighten up people! It's not trying to be offensive, it's to entertain and be part of the Super Bowl celebration," Jeff. D wrote on a Today.com post.
"How is the VW super bowl ad racist? Only a black man can sound so? Jamaica has Caucasian ppl with Jamaican accents," Shellz tweeted.
The ad, which is expected to reach 110 million viewers, takes a shift from Volkswagen's previously popular "Star Wars" themes.
In 2011, the company's "The Force" ad, which featured a cute kid dressed as a mini-Darth Vader, proved to be successful after garnering over 12 million views and favorable reviews on YouTube.
In 2012, the company's Super Bowl ad focused on an obese dog, although the mini-Darth Vader made a brief cameo appearance. This year, Volkswagen removed the Star Wars theme completely, which the company's chief product and marketing officer explained as being a strategic decision.
"You put yourself into a creative box if you build everything around Star Wars," Tim Mahoney, chief product and marketing officer told USA Today. "We opted for a larger statement about the brand."