Other Super Bowl commercials have sparked controversies. After PTC slammed Mercedes-Benz ad featuring sexy Kate Upton, Volkswagen's and Taco Bell's ads have sparked criticisms as well.
VW's ad is accused of being racist by some people for featuring a white guy who speaks in a Jamaican accent and tries to cheer up his co-workers. Mediapost.com's Barbara Lippert said, "Didn't anyone look at this? This is so racist. It's just saying that black people are happy."
Ricki Fairley-Brown, president of the multicultural marketing agency Dove Marketing, chimed in, "It's pretty horrific. Why do they have a white guy from Minnesota faking a Jamaican accent?" "Today" host Matt Lauer, however, disagreed as he thought the ad reminded him of being on a peaceful island vacation.
Volkswagen marketing officer Tim Mahoney defended the ad when appearing on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien". He stated that the company had conducted research, including consultations with Jamaicans, to ensure the ad was racially sensitive.
"There is no thought to pulling it," Mahoney added, insisting that they will still play the ad during Super Bowl XLVII telecast on Sunday, February 2.
In contrary, *Taco Bell has pulled its ad ahead of the big football event. The ad, which says bringing a vegetable tray to a party is "like punting on fourth and one," is deemed discouraging people from eating vegetables.
"We didn't want anyone to misinterpret the intent of the ad," said Rob Poetsch, a Taco Bell spokesman. Representatives for the Center for Science in the Public responded to the decision, "We are delighted that Taco Bell is pulling an ad that urged people not to bring veggie trays to their Super Bowl parties, but to instead bring 12-packs of Taco Bell's tacos."
Volkswagen Super Bowl Ad:
Taco Bell Super Bowl Ad:
*UPDATE (Feb. 05, 2013 01:04 GMT): The Taco Bell ad supporting Taco 12 Pack that's referred to in this article is not a Super Bowl ad. Instead, the commercial aired during the college football's Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and in general rotation. During Super Bowl, Taco Bell released an ad titled "Viva Young".