Controversy in a Super Bowl Ad.

In the media today, whether it be through an advertisement in a magazine or a commercial on television, some images that are presented can be seen as controversial.

Controversial ads can be seen as inappropriate, offensive or even in the examples I am about to give you, racist.

The following  ad from the Super Bowl this year is an ad for Volkswagen, VW 2013 Beetle. The clear  denotation in this ad is of a white guy at work happy and talking in a Jamaican accent because he has a new VW 2013 Beetle. He is trying to make the people he works with happy.

The Connotations of this VW ad is the fact that the guy  is talking in a Jamaican accent to his co-workers and boss at work, saying things like, “Turn that frown the other way around… No worries man, everything will be all right; yeah man.” The ad is supposed to be feel-good and happy, the song, ‘Come on get Happy’ is heard in the ad signifying this idea.

The ad caused a lot of controversy because that it was a white guy speaking with a Jamaican accent, the question being is it racist or isn’t it?

In news stories from Katherine Fung from Huffington Post and Phil Hahn from CTV News both quoted Charles Blow from the New York Times, who discussed the VW add on CNN saying, “Black faces with voices, I don’t like that.”

The other video I have for you guys to check out is from Roland Martin Reports, with Roland Martin, Reihan Salam and Erin Burnett dicussing about their opiniions on whether the VW ad is funny or racist.

In my opinion of the VW ad, it depends on the individual whether they want to take offence to it or not. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with it, as it was not made to offend or be racist.



Hahn, P 2013, Super Bowl Ads 2013: from the cute to the controversial, accessed 9/4/13,

Fung, K 2013, Volkswagon Super Bowl Ad Accused of Being Racist, accessed 9/4/13,


2 thoughts on “Controversy in a Super Bowl Ad.”

  1. I linked the Volkswagen video in one of my posts too 🙂
    I think its such a good example of how people perceive controversy in advertising. I thought the same as you, he was just showing that he was happy which to Jamaicians I thought was a positive thing. Everyone definitely has others opinions though haha!

  2. I liked how you used examples that related well to what you were writing about. I also liked the use of quotes which showed your use of readings and research, which makes an excellent blog! I also like that you posed questions to the readers drawing them in and keeping them interested in your blog. Keep up the good work!

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