Thursday, 31 January 2013

GET IN, GET HAPPY: Controversial new Volkswagen ad perfectly illustrates the global reach of J’can culture

SUNNY SIDE UP: Volkswagen's Game Day commercial strikes an irie chord.

Mission accomplished for German auto-makers Volkswagen: Everyone is talking about their sprightly new Super Bowl commercial featuring a very cheerful white fellow sporting a thick Jamaican accent. The hilarious new ad, which will run during breaks from Sunday’s Super Bowl football showdown, follows Dave and his newfound sunny disposition (that manifests itself in a curious way), all thanks to his new 2013 Volkswagen Beetle. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff provides the soundtrack with a laid-back performance of “C’mon, Get Happy.” [Watch below.] 

As it stands the minute-long commercial offers an apt reminder of the enormous appeal of our tiny island in the international sphere and is a sterling endorsement of our national brand at a time when so many ills (crime and a shabby economy included) threaten to overshadow all the great things about us. For generations, foreigners have been fascinated by the Jamaican culture, everything from our indigenous reggae to our irie dialect. Clearly, the marketing team at Volkswagen has happily embraced it and didn’t hesitate to use it in enticing the millions of viewers of this very funny TV ad. Racism? Nothing offensive here. 

And Opposition spokesman on tourism, Ed Bartlett, concurs. In a release from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Bartlett describes the Volkswagen ad as “a perfect illustration of Jamaican culture's global reach and our uncharacteristic penchant to be happy even in challenging situations.” This, the shadow spokesman further states, is underlined by the fact that Jamaica consistently ranks high on global happiness indices. Bartlett also points out that with brand Jamaica showcased so prominently as a “happy” destination, we will only grow stronger and better.


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