Is Volkswagen's Super Bowl ad racist?
The big game's first advertising controversy has arrived, and it involves former ad darling VW.
This year's Super Bowl has revealed its first advertising controversy: a commercial from Volkswagen (VLKAY) that's coming under fire as racist.
The commercial features a white Minnesotan who suddenly starts speaking in a Jamaican accent, urging his dour co-workers to "Turn the frown the other way around." (To see the ad, click here.) The punch line? His happiness stems from his ride: a VW Beetle.Some are finding the ad offensive, with New York Times columnist Charles Blow telling CNN, "It's like blackface with voices." Another CNN commentator said the spot reminded him of Jar Jar Binks, the maligned "Star Wars" character who was criticized as reflecting some racial stereotypes.
The stakes are high, with this year's commercial time selling for a record $3.8 million. That means some marketers are willing to take risks in order to grab viewers' attention. After all, the game's advertisers represent a who's who of America's top brands, including M&Ms, Coca-Cola (KO) and Ford (F).
That the controversy involves VW underscores how even top marketers can slip up when it comes to Super Bowl advertising. The automaker created one of 2011's most beloved Super Bowl ads,"The Force," in which a boy dressed up as Darth Vader tries to use his "force" to move sandwiches, toys and laundry. (To see that ad, click here.)
VW is standing by its Jamaican accent, with chief marketing officer Tim Mahoney noting, "there is no thought to pulling it," according to USA Today.
The automaker talked with 100 Jamaicans and used a speech coach to make sure the white actor in this year's spot accurately reflected the accent, Mahoney told CNN.
Super Bowl ads that go awry often have a common theme: they backfire when the marketer tries to shock or takes on polarizing issues. And, as VW has found, humor can miss the mark with some viewers.
More on moneyNOW
Racist? Only to racist !
Remember Madam Cleo ? CALL ME NOW !<in a Jamacian accent> This was her mantra.
Later, it was discovered she was from Texas.
This ad in wack as hell. I do believe it is racist. There are other ways to show happiness besides acting like a Jamaican.. Thereis nothing funny about a abunch of grown businessmen in a small VW Bettle.
people go around jumping at the chance to use the word racist. Get over it!!!!!!
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Sales of collectible automobiles hit an all-time record this year, leading some to speculate that soaring prices could lead to a huge deal.
- Bah, humbug! New Christmas tree tax proposed
- Should you get a store credit card?
- The best credit cards of 2013
- Can a new chief exec keep GM on course?
- 'Tips for Jesus' big spender unmasked?
- Chinese investors are buying up Detroit
- Mega Millions jackpot hits $344 million
- 5 reasons to think twice about a balance transfer card
- Will I have to pay taxes because of a foreclosed home?
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices settled on their lows following a steady, session-long slide. Similar to yesterday, small-caps paced the retreat as the Russell 2000 fell 1.6%, extending its December loss to 3.6%. The S&P 500 settled lower by 1.1%, widening its month-to-date decline to 1.3%.
There was no specific news catalyst behind today's slide, which had the markings of broad-based profit-taking. Seven of ten sectors settled with losses of 1.0% or more while only two groups ... More
More Market News
The offering could become the second-biggest this year if underwriters exercise an option to buy more shares.