Media Watch: Jimmy Cliff’s Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad

January 30, 2013

Words by Tasha Brownโ€”

Jimmy Cliff Volkswagen ad

When you think of Volkswagen, Jimmy Cliff is not a person who likely comes to mind. But during the second quarter of this yearโ€™s Super Bowl broadcast, airing this Sunday, February 3, youโ€™ll be able to catch the reggae legend in a new Volkswagen ad called โ€œSunny Side.โ€

This week, the German car maker released a teaser for its Super Bowl commercial. In it, Jimmy as is singing a version of the Partridge Family theme song โ€œGet Happy,โ€ urging a variety of high-tempered adults and pouting kids (based on recent YouTube memes) to calm down and get happy. Cliff,ย whose resume for this sort of stuff includes such classically sunny tunes as โ€œYou Can Get It If You Really Wantโ€ and โ€œWonderful World, Beautiful People,โ€ is obviously the perfect man for the job:

Volkswagen is known for getting it right when it comes to witty, attention-getting Super Bowl ads. Remember โ€˜The Forceโ€™ in 2011? That ad was the most watched Super Bowl commercial ever, with over 56 million views on YouTube. In 2012, there was โ€˜The Barkโ€™ ad, which got over 18 million YouTube views.

A second Volkswagen teaser was also released this week โ€” this time with no Jimmy (though the jingle remains), and corporate office types speaking in unexpected Jamaican accents. Needless to say, it isn’t as cool. While the representation of Jamaicans as happy-go-lucky may seem trite to some (and even others have gone as far as to call it racist), it’s been mostly accepted as a good look in Jamaica. And the actors mostly did better jobs than these folks.

Itโ€™s hard to deny that Jimmy makes everything alright, though, with his always-positive vibesโ€“itโ€™s the Caribbean way.