The commercial, featuring people speaking in fake Jamaican accents, has been earning harsh criticism. Barbara Lippert of MediaPost.com calls it "racist" and says she doubts it will air during the Super Bowl amid the controversy.
Our Life Inc. readers don't think Volkswagen’s new Super Bowl ad is offensive, and, as it turns out, neither do many Jamaicans.
The commercial, which features carefree office workers speaking in inexplicable Caribbean accents to the background tune of Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff's "C'mon, Get Happy," has been characterized by some media critics as racist.
During an appearance Wednesday on TODAY, Barbara Lippert, editor-at-large at mediapost.com, said she was "shocked" by the ad.
"My problem with it is there's no link to Volkswagen. It's a German car!" she said.
"It's just saying that black people are happy."
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow told CNN that the advertisement was like "blackface with voices."
But on Wednesday, Jamaican lawmaker Edmund Bartlett told the Associated Press that the commercial "is a perfect illustration of Jamaican culture's global reach and our uncharacteristic penchant to be happy even in challenging situations."
Jamaica's Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Wykeham McNeill has endorsed the one-minute spot. "I think this is a very creative commercial which truly taps into the tremendous mass appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally,” reports Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.
A spokesman for Volkswagen of America said the company has no plans to pull the Super Bowl spot, which is scheduled to run during the second quarter of the big game.
"We went out with confidence and did our homework," said Scott Vazin, a company spokesman, adding that the response to the spot has been "overwhelmingly positive."
Information from TODAY contributor Paul Eisenstein and the Associated Press was included in this report.