Skip to main content

Super Bowl ad featuring 'Minnesotan' racist?


A Volkswagen TV commercial slated to run during the Super Bowl that features an office worker from Minnesota is being called culturally insensitive.

In the spot released this week (see it below), the cubicle drone is so cheered by his shiny red VW that he speaks in a jaunty Jamaican accent, spreading joy to his down-trodden colleagues. "No worries, Mon! Every-ting will be all right," he announces to the Monday-dreading workers in his elevator.

The Jamaican government has embraced the commercial, the Associated Press reported. But the ad doesn't sit right with critics because it shows a white man with an accent associated with black Jamaicans. New York Times columnist Charles Blow on CNN said the ad was "like blackface with voices."

"It's pretty horrific," Ricki Fairley-Brown, president of the multicultural marketing agency Dove Marketing, told USA Today. "Why do they have a white guy from Minnesota faking a Jamaican accent?"

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief hispanic marketing strategist at Walton Isaacson, an African-American, Gay/Lesbian and Hispanic agency, tells the newspaper, "What happens in this ad is that the culture becomes a punch line, and that is offensive."

Volkswagen said the accent is intended to convey a "relaxed cheerful demeanor," the Associated Press reports. "There is no thought to pulling it," Tim Mahoney, chief product and marketing office at Volkswagen of America, told USA Today. He told CNN that Jamaicans were among the test audience for the spot.

"Even though it's not a good ad, they managed to get as much attention this year as they did last year before the game," Barbara Lippert, columnist at, told the AP. "It's amazing to use America as their test kitchen, which they did."

Check it out for yourself:

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.

Anthony Edwards

Ant's massive slam leads Timberwolves to fifth straight win

The dunk didn't count, but provided the highlight of the night.

Cam Talbot / Minnesota Wild

WIld arrive late, Cam Talbot stays on point to beat Devils

Despite a 30-minute delay, the Wild picked up a 3-2 victory.

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 4.10.54 PM

Appeal to find 35-year-old missing from Oak Grove home

Police say he's not believed to be in danger.

vote, election

7 MN Republicans urge states to audit 2020 election results

There has been no evidence of significant fraud in any single U.S. state.

child vaccine pexels

How many MN kids age 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine dose?

The governor says the state has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the U.S.

police lights

Seven juveniles arrested in connection with stolen vehicles in Woodbury

Woodbury authorities have issued a warning following a spate of auto thefts.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

1 dead after driver crashes into stalled vehicle on shoulder

The vehicle stopped on the side of the road was unoccupied at the time.


Filmmakers are finalists in Super Bowl ad contest

Three Twin Cities filmmakers are finding you can really get somewhere with $250, a squirrel suit, and a little help from Craigslist.

Super Bowl Ads: The best and worst, 2012

You couldn't escape the Super Bowl and you can't escape the statewide Monday-morning quarterbacking of those oh-so-clever advertisements that we only see once a year.