Volkswagen leaders have released teasers of potential Super Bowl commercials, and one is drawing some criticism because it depicts a white man who gets happy and uses a Jamaican accent after he gets a VW car.
According to Business Insider, Volkswagen leaders said the idea behind their "Get Happy" campaign is to make consumers smile and "build upon the heritage of 'human stories,' told simply."
VW leaders said they have a couple different ad options to run during the Super Bowl, also according to Business Insider.
Last week, the company also teased this commercial.
VW leaders told Business Insider that the character in the commercial is meant to portray an "upbeat perspective and intelligence as he influences his co-workers to 'get happy.' His accent is intended to convey a relaxed, cheerful demeanor while encouraging a positive attitude as the antidote to a tough Monday.
"Everyone can relate to being in an office and being ground down by the pressures of work, and 'Get Happy' brings an optimistic, bright spirit into an otherwise mundane day," VW leaders said, according to Business Insider.
The publication also reported that some people have said the accent is offensive. For example, New York Times columnist Charles Blow said the fake accent is similar to "black face with voices" on Soledad O'Brien's "Starting Point."
But a VW marketing leader told Business Insider that company officials talked to about 100 Jamaicans during their research process and that there was a speech coach on-site to ensure the accent was as authentic as possible.
Past VW commercials, such as "The Force," attracted attention and praise.