What Blackface is NOT: Volkswagen’s “Get Happy” Super Bowl 2013 Ad

Volkswagen Get Happy Super Bowl 2013 Game Day Commercial

Volkswagen’s “Racist” ‘Get Happy’ Super Bowl 2013 Commercial

With Super Bowl 2013 ad fever already in high gear, Volkswagen released its “Get In. Get Happy.” commercial via Youtube two days ago, causing immediate scrutiny over whether or not the advertisement is racist or racially insensitive.

Attempting to show an extreme amount of happiness caused by the German auto company’s new Beetle, Dave — a White guy, spreads cheer with a terrible, but funny Caribbean/patois accent and sunny disposition.

Throughout the spot, a reggae version of The Partridge Family ‘s “Come On Get Happy” plays in the background, adding to the laid-back, cheery vibe.

The advertisement has particularly irked New York Times columnist Charles Blow , who said, “I don’t like it at all. It’s like blackface with voices.”

Dare we forget how the Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures? Has Mr. Blow never run into at least one Asian or Caucasian-looking patois speaking person in New York City? I certainly have.

And don’t even get me started on calling every-damn-thing “blackface,” a term that includes vocal mockery, by the way. Once again, this word is being thrown around too lightly.

The commercial is dumb, but it’s not racist. If anything, I’m reminded that most of the things I freak out about, aren’t that serious.

It actually did make me happy today, though I have no intention of ever buying the advertised product. I could use a vacation though…

Watch: Volkswagen’s “Get In. Get Happy.” Super Bowl 2013 Game Day Commercial

“Don’t fret mi brudda, sticky bun come soon!”

spotted via kissmyblackads

About the author  ⁄ theComplex

Editor-in-Chief at Sinuous Magazine, designer, and founder of NYC-based boutique design firm theComplex Media & Design. I've been designing for 13 years, writing on the internet for about the same, and I appear on radio and podcasts under the name "Lanae Mc'Levans." Photographer and overall geek who is passionate about art, music, politics, technology, fashion, and women's issues. A serial day-dreamer. Foul-mouthed. Opinionated.

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    • / theComplex

      Care to elaborate on what is “insulting?”

  • http://twitter.com/C_Hicks_Todd Charlotte Hicks Todd

    I just went back to watch the entire spot again. Had only seen a part of it on another forum. They say specifically that the spokesperson is from Michigan. With that reference, this man is NOT from the islands at all. So the perspective changes quite a bit. The accent simply does not fit. All JAMAICANS are not HAPPY. Just like all BLACKS are not ANGRY. I think this falls into the stereotype that has nothing to do with the “unique selling point” of the product. THe TV Spot’s message is confusing to say the least.

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