I have to admit that the Volkswagen commercial above brought a smile to my face. It’s been making the rounds on television and online because it’s going to be shown during the Super Bowl. Everybody will be watching, and advertisers increase their game for the Super Bowl. Some of us even think the commercials are more entertaining than the game.
This commercial is upbeat. The main character is happy and speaks with a Jamaican accent when everyone else is grumpy. What’s his secret? He owns a VW Bug. His colleagues think he has gone a bit bonkers, until he takes a few of them on a joy ride. Suddenly, they take on Jamaican accents.
Soledad O’Brien debuted the commercial on her show, Starting Point, earlier this week, and she asked the CEO of the company about the risks of having actors use a Jamaican accent. It turns out Volkswagen did its research, testing the commercial with focus groups. Check it out.
For me, it was odd to watch the actors who didn’t appear Jamaican saying very Jamaican things. Volkswagen is borrowing Jamaican culture to sell its German cars. It’s also playing on the stereotype that all Jamaicans are happy. It’s a risk the company was willing to take. Maybe it will payoff. We’ll see in the weeks following the Super Bowl.
What do you say?