Volkswagen Super Bowl ad urges people to Get Happy
Volkswagen appears to be putting all its weight behind the Beetle, if its latest Super Bowl ad is anything to go by.
Manufacturers across the globe often jostle to get access to commercial slots during game time in a bid to reach a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people.
Super Bowl XLVII takes place on Sunday, with Volkswagen's 'Get Happy' ad set to be aired during the second quarter of the game.
The theme of the ad centres on a group of fed-up office workers one Monday morning. One worker though goes on a one-man mission to cheer up his colleagues.
Speaking in a thick Jamaican accent, the employee looks on the brighter side of life, imparting his wisdom on all who approach him - even his boss.
The source of his happiness? A Volkswagen Beetle, which he lets his friends experience first-hand with a lunchtime drive. Afterward, everyone that's been in the car adopts the same 'Get Happy' philosophy and talks with a thick Jamaican accent.
"With 'Get Happy,' we set out to create a lighthearted and energetic ad to represent the positive energy and sunny disposition that only the Beetle and Volkswagen can deliver," said Mike Sheldon, CEO, Deutsch LA, Volkswagen of America's creative Agency of Record.
"We are thrilled to bring the Volkswagen brand essence to life on America's biggest stage."
However Volkswagen is bracing itself for a racism storm before the ad has even aired.
The commercial is currently available to view on YouTube, with a number of commentators questioning Volkswagen's decision to film a heavyset white man talking in a stereotypical Jamaican accent.
The Wall Street Journal, for instance, has gone so far as to label it 'the Jar Jar Binks of 2013'. New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, has also commented, saying: "I don't like it at all. It's like blackface with voices."
Volkswagen has even admitted that it has a back-up advert to air in case they don't use it to "minimize the risk."
Volkswagen has previously enjoyed huge success with its Super Bowl commercials. Its Darth Vader Passat ad, for instance, was recently congratulated for being the most shared auto commercial of all time.
The video, at the time it was aired in 2011, was credited for improving traffic to the Volkswagen site by 127 per cent, and selling an additional 20,902 models.
Written by John Meadowcroft.