Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Jamaican accent incorrect?
Everyone loves a good Super Bowl ad scandal, but Volkswagen is one of the last companies we'd expect to be accused of inappropriate content.
Between a pint-sized Darth Vader and an adorably obese dog, VW and its ad agency, Deutsch LA, have cemented a reputation for making truly great creative work for the Super Bowl.
But eyebrows have been raised over its newly released Super Bowl spot, in which a white Minnesotan man sports a Jamaican accent because he is so happy about his new Volkswagen. He cavorts around the office to the tune of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff's new rendition of the Partridge Family theme song "Get Happy."
Although Soledad O'Brien said that she liked the spot on CNN's "Starting Point," her guest, New York Time's columnist Charles Blow, had a different opinion. "I don't like it at all," he said. "It's like blackface with voices."
Wall Street Journal's Christopher John Farley agreed that the superimposed accent was problematic given that it was "coming out of people who seemingly weren't supposed to be from Jamaica, so it was done as a joke." He even referred to it as the "Jar Jar Binks of 2013."
VW America marketing officer Tim Mahoney told O'Brien, however, that "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."