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Sandals scores with J'can version of VW Super Bowl ad

Sunday, February 03, 2013    

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A Jamaican version of Volkswagen's Super Bowl ad that has gone viral has been created by Sandals Resorts International, attracting 53,000 viewers in the first 20 hours of it being posted on YouTube.

Labelled 'Jamaica's Spoof of VW Super Bowl Ad: The Germaican', the one-minute, 57-second ad features a Jamaican in different scenarios on the island speaking with a German accent which surprises some people and influences the behaviour of others with whom he comes in contact.

In one scene the Jamaican walks up to a jerk chicken vendor, makes an order and when asked if he would like sauce to go with his purchase, declined, showing the vendor a bottle of sauerkraut which he spreads generously on the meal, then leaves the bottle behind. As he walks away, the vendor serves himself a piece of the chicken, adding the tangy, zesty garnish which is often associated with Germany.

The ad, which features the same sound track as that in the VW Super Bowl commercial — Jimmy Cliff's cover of The Partridge Family's C'mon, Get Happy — is Sandals' response to the controversy sparked by the Super Bowl ad in the United States.

"We just saw it as our way of saying to the world that Jamaicans are a fun-loving people who live by our motto 'Out of many, one people'," said Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals and the ATL Group, which includes ATL Autohaus, the local dealers of VW.

Jamaican Government and Opposition officials have dismissed a comment in the US that the Super Bowl ad is racist and is belittling Jamaicans because it features a white male in an office setting, using an infectious Jamaican accent to encourage his officemates to ignore the bleak forecast and instead lighten up and be happy.

"I urge persons all across the globe to do exactly what the commercial portrays, which is to tap into your inner Jamaican and get happy," said Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill.

According to McNeill, the ad is very creative and truly taps into the tremendous mass appeal that Brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally.

Opposition spokesman on tourism Edmund Bartlett said the advertisement is a perfect illustration of the global reach of the Jamaican culture and the Jamaican people's characteristic penchant to be happy, even in challenging situations.

Last week, Dr Claire Nelson, the Jamaican-born president of the Washington-based Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Caribbean Heritage Organisation, said both groups have found the commercial "amusing and indeed, a fascinating example of subtlety in subliminal messaging".

"In one fell swoop, the ad directors have superimposed Jamaicans' reputation for being hardworking — the three jobs archetype — as well as [for] our reputation for having a laid-back, positive, don't-worry-about-a-thing disposition through the character of the Volkswagen," Dr Nelson said.

The Sandals version of the ad has so far won approval from YouTube viewers.

"This commercial is the boss. Big up Montego Bay. Real Jamaican talent, Yes iya," wrote Aston Rampasard.

"Hahaha...love both ads!," said a viewer using the handle TheRealRenimani.

"Love it!" exclaimed Curly Lox.

"Dis Mad," declared Kamille West.

"This is so funny!!!! Love it," wrote Cecile Geib.

"DWL, wwwooooiiii," said Foxie Smiley.

"Jamaica to the WORLLLLD!!!! this baaaaad. Das beach is good, yaw' lol," wrote a viewer who uses the name 'acrallic'.

"Great video. Make me feel proud to be married to my island gem!!!!," said the person who uses the handle Tarika409.

The local version of the ad, in which the VW Amarok is the vehicle of choice of the 'Germaican', ends with the slogan 'Das Jamaica' flashed on the screen just before the Jamaican motto is shown.

The ad, which will be aired during today's Super Bowl final, will reach an estimated worlwide audience of more than 90 million.

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