Erik Nicolaisen from the VW Ad Campaign speaks with Corve DaCosta

Please read my exclusive interview with the star in the VW ad campaign. His real name, Erik Nicolaisen, an experienced commercial actor and voice over talent gave me an exclusive interview about his experience working on the ‘Get in. Get Happy’ VW ad campaign and shares his love and fascination for the Jamaican culture.

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You are an experienced talent in the business, working on numerous commercials. How did you get to star in this commercial? 

The creators of the commercial were looking to cast “a Midwestern American, 35-40, who speaks in a thick Jamaican accent.” My commercial agents knew that I could do an above-average patois, and they managed to get me in the room.  After an initial audition and a secondary audition, the creative team decided that I was their “Dave Johnson.” The rest is history.

It should be noted that without the amazing creative team at Deutsch LA and the genius Director Tom Kuntz, this commercial wouldn’t have seen the light of day.  I’m very grateful to be involved in this ad.

IMG_2123 ZAUGHED WEB

As a Jamaican, you were able to deliver a credible take of the accent for someone who is foreign to the culture. How difficult was it learning the accent?

Thick patois is difficult for me to mimic - and even harder to hear.  My brother-in-law comes from Jamaica, and to this day I can’t understand 80% of what he’s saying when he’s on the phone to his friends. I have been a lifelong reggae fan, and as a voice actor I have tried to put a little patois into my repertoire.  Going into the audition, I had a decent handle on the accent, but in order to be able to improve and riff for the commercial, I needed to have a more convincing accent and grasp of the vocabulary.  I got a ton of help from my brother-in-law to iron out some of the details, and provide me with some key patois phrases.

Do you like the Jamaican accent? Are you still saying ‘yeah mon’? 

My wife told me I’m temporarily not allowed to speak patois around the house for a while. I drove her mad with my practicing for the commercial.  I imagine that a Jamaican, responding to his wife in a Minnesotan accent for 2 weeks straight would have the same affect.

There is a big controversy buzzing on the internet, that the commercial is racist. What are your thoughts on that?

People are free to have their own opinion on whether the spot is racist or not.  My brother-in-law comes from Kingston, by way of Linstead, and he loves the ad. I have his blessing, so I’m comfortable with the work. I had a long talk with him today about the “racism” claims, and he says he completely disagrees, as do Jamaican friends and family. “Out of Many, One People” is Jamaica’s motto he says, and on any day “a yard,” you hear Chinese, Black, Indian, and Caucasian Jamaicans all speaking in this same patois.

KSA1

Did you get to meet Jimmy Cliff, who also stars in a commercial for the campaign? If yes, how was that experience?

Unfortunately, they had already finished his segment a week before we started shooting our spot, so I didn’t get to meet him. That’s too bad, because he was one of my idols as a kid – and my first reggae concert at 10 years old. As a matter of fact, I think the first two reggae cassettes I purchased as a kid were Black Uhuru Red & Jimmy Cliff’s Give Thankx-  I would have really enjoyed meeting him. I hear his new album is great too.

 

The VW America Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney said on CNN that “We obviously did our homework to make sure that we weren’t offensive.” While on set, what impression did you get from the creative people working on this commercial? 

Frankly, I didn’t even consider that the commercial would come off as offensive. I was just busy on set trying to follow Tom Kuntz’ direction, remember lines, hit my mark, get my accent right – You don’t have time to take much else in. The Director, Agency, and Client all seemed pleased as far as I could gather.

You had a speech coach, what was that experience like? Any hilarious moments you can share? 

It was helpful to have on set. When I’d get words or sentences that I needed to hear in patois, he’d help me out.   He was a nice guy, a Rasta musician from St. Ann’s parish I believe, now living here in LA.

What’s your day job and which state are you really from? Are you from Minnesota? 

I live in Los Angeles with my wife and 2 year old son.  I come from Portland, Oregon, but I’ve been living in Southern California for about 10 years now. I’m an Actor first and foremost. Commercial and Voice-over have been my “bread and butter” as we say, but I’ve done film and television as well. I’ve done some writing and directing, and for a while I had a weekly comedy show at the Comedy Store.  I’m also the owner of a Painting / Mural company.  When I’m not acting I manage the clients and operations, and I keep my friends gainfully employed.  They’re some of the best artists in the world, check out their work: www.oldcityartists.com

Have you ever visited Jamaica? 

I visited Jamaica in 2003. It was really great to finally see the island, after being a fan of the culture for so long.  I really only got to see the west side of the island, but it was great regardless. What stands out most is all the wonderful, strange food: guineps, ackee & saltfish, bammy cakes – we don’t have any of that here.

I almost got to go back a few months ago, as my sisters and their families spent christmas in Treasure Beach. I was invited, but unfortunately couldn’t make it.

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I will be sending this interview to the Jamaica Tourist Board, would you like to experience the authentic Jamaican culture? 

I’m ready to return :)

What would you like to say to Jamaicans (who are excited about the commercial) and to VW fans? 

Thanks for the overwhelming support of this commercial.

***

Photo exclusively from Erik Nicolaisen for www.corvedacosta.com

 

photo

Thank you Erik.

Visit Erik Nicolaisen’s website here

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112 Responses to Erik Nicolaisen from the VW Ad Campaign speaks with Corve DaCosta

  1. Gerry McDaniel says:

    I still think the ad sucks because it is so goddamn cheesy and stereotypical.

    However, I have experienced so much direct American racism, this is not the least bit offensive. I just cannot believe we are not talking about more important stuff.

    As a hardcore Jamaican, if it bumps up our foreign currency inflows by even a dollar… so be it. I don’t have to watch the stupid ad, but I vote for anything that enhances our struggling economy.

    • George Walker says:

      By your comments I believe you have become a true American. All you could find positive about the AD is the bottom line.(Capitalism)

      One Love!!!!

  2. Wade says:

    Great Interview! I found the commercial to be enjoyable so I don’t get the “racist” vibe people are talking about. Erik did his thing and it’s interesting to know he has Jamaicans in his family. If he spent some time here i’m sure he’d catch on the accent and blend in with us in no time. Big up Corve.

  3. Dennis says:

    As a Jamaican of ONE of the races that defines our people, I wasnt the least bit offended by the ad before. Having read this interview, I like the ad, the actor, and the entire production process a LOT more. Cheers

    • admin says:

      I agree with you Dennis.

      I loved the ad because of it’s creativity and how authentic the accent was coming from the actor. Clearly, they invested a lot in telling the real Jamaican story. Reading the interview made me appreciate the commercial even more and the fact his story connects with a Jamaican (family) and the culture was the icing on the cake.

      Go VW.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment Dennis.

      I was floored reading Erik’s responses to see his connections to Jamaica through his love for the culture and Jamaicans (family).

  4. Pat Mack says:

    Does anyone recall the Grey Poupon ad featuring an English toff in a Rolls, enquiring whether his fellow motorist has any Grey Poupon mustard? I don’t think there is a difference between that ad and the VW ad, or for that matter any Outback ad featuring an Aussie drawl with images of what is supposed to be Aussie life, or the more recent Fiat ad. All trade on notorious stereotypes of a particular nationality, trying to imbue the product they’re pushing with characteristics of that stereotype. Of course, stereotypes have to be inaccurate. Does it amount to cheesiness? I don’t think so necessarily. Especially when in our case we have spent millions trying to convey to the world that we are a “no problem” “irie” island. ‘Come to Jamaica, and feel alright’, said one JTB ad. Why blame the world for picking up that theme and running with it? Stereotypes are always ripe for mining, provided they are not negative stereotypes aimed at offending or ridiculing. I don’t think this VW ad could fairly be said to be aimed at doing either of these things, and certainly being a bit laid back and happier can’t be said to be a negative stereotype, as portrayed in the ad.

  5. Mali says:

    Great post Corve! People need to #GetHappy or #GetALife. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, they say. What’s the big deal and how can imitating a NATIONALITY be RACIST? People are far too removed from sensibility these days.

  6. Craig says:

    Whats this Racist Bullshit????? I’m Jamaican and I love this commercial, and every Jamaican I know does….

  7. Janeen says:

    Great Interview,
    I love when foreigners make any attempt on patois, I have also taught foreigners patois. People need fi chill like Winstan lol . It’s a funny ad, what’s even funnier is the people who have issue with it are no Jamaican . People need to travel more and see the world outside of race . I would like to see Erik in more stuff :). Good luck to him, you should come to Jamaica again you have a big fan base now.

    Janeen- Kingston, Jamaica

    • admin says:

      Thanks Janeeen for your comment.

      Its a beautiful story (interview) and I think Jamaicans will rate Erik more if they read his story with his Jamaican connections and love for our biggest little island in the world (Jamaica).

      His accent was refreshing, something Hollywood producers haven’t been able to get in their productions.

    • Malcolm says:

      I completely agree Janeen. I love my country from Negril all the way to Morant Point and I was in no way offended by this advertisment. In fact I felt a bit of pride in the fact that a serious automotive company like VW wanted to package their product by making reference to a slice of my culture. Erik’s accent was actually one of the best Jamaican accents I have heard out of Hollywood. “Don’t fret mi bredda, de stick bun soon come”. I was rolling on the floor. This ad gets two thumbs up for me, and you know what, hitehrto I have been a BMW driver. I am now seriously looking at VWs. Isn’t that the purpose of advertising?

    • julette says:

      Patois is not a race its a dialect as a Jamaican i think its cool, love love love it

  8. Sean says:

    I honestly think this add gives Jamaica so much exposure. how can Americans on a talk show call this ad racist? We as Jamaicans dont even think its racist. They mention its because they are mocking a black jamaican voice. HELLO, not all Jamaicans are black !!! Now thats a racist comment if you ask me. Nonetheless, this ad has definitely done its job and given VW and Jamaica a billion more views than it thought it would. GO VW AND JAMAICA !!!!!!

  9. Chantal says:

    Another great interview Corve! Awesome work.

  10. Carmen Brown says:

    The only people that are in objection of this add are those who don’t really give a hoot about Jamaicans and Jamaica anyway. VW has always been one of Jamaicans favorite Motor vehicles so it stands to reason we or our image should promote the company…..You go VW!

  11. Great interview Corve. I think Erik did an excellent job in this commercial. Congratulations on doing a great job with an accent that can be challenging to master.

    I am Jamaica based in Toronto and I am also an actress. I’ve done some commercials. I also have my own management consulting business and I offer team building retreats in Jamaica, Canada and 10 other countries.

    truly can’t believe what all the fuss is about. I feel the commercials are great fun. It’s telling that it is American journalists and ad agency spokespeople who are objecting to the ads. By their comments, some of them are showing real ignorance about Jamaica. In fact, I find the comments of some of the journalists highly offensive. Barbara Lippert’s comment referring to a Jamaican accent as a “Black accent” tops the list. I just couldn’t believe it.

    For the most part, Jamaicans are happy with it so people should just chill.

    I have weighed in on this issue in great detail in a post on my blog:

    Do Volkswagen @VW ‘Be Happy’ Super Bowl Ads Stereotype Jamaicans? http://bit.ly/Vt6MvG [VIDEOS] #teamjamaica #jamaicansforvw

    • admin says:

      Thanks Anne.
      I read your blog post on this as well. I love the commercial and this interview makes me appreciate it even more.

  12. Kim says:

    English born with Jamaican parents who are Black White and Indian, have a son who is all the above plus Chinese …. Out of many one people … Perfect example of what the Jamaican Motto represents.

    Absolutely love the ad and so do all my friends and family

    • admin says:

      Thanks Kim.

      We are indeed ‘Out of Many One People’. I think we should start showing that diversity more in our ads.

  13. Tsansai says:

    Great interview! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  14. I don’t find the ad racist at all but I do find it rather “stereotypical”.

    Although it’s great to have people identify “Jamaican culture” as “happy in a laid back way, etc,” I would love to see other positive aspects of “jamaican culture/personality” be promoted such as being fun, flexible, creative, innovative, upbeat, optimistic, etc.

    I’m kind of tired of Jamaicans and everybody else continually projecting this one dimensional view of Jamaicans. It’s almost as if it’s the only kind of “positive” we can be. But we are to be blamed for this one dimensional view too because the Ja tourist board also promotes this laid-back attitude in their ads.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s bad or wrong to promote this aspect of our culture…I’m for promoting any and ALL positive aspects of jamaica. I just think that focusing on this one area puts on in a box. And I think we’re stuck in this box.

    I think, Jimmy Cliff and the other Jamaican consultants who participated in this project could have given a different view on Jamaican people. It would have been a great opportunity to move Jamaica away from this “laid-back image” and expand our brand in a more positive way. (Maybe they tried to do this and it was rejected, who knows.)

    All in all, I think it’s great exposure for Jamaica…it’s the fricking Superbowl!!! The ad would have been really funny IF it wasn’t so cliché. The actor did a great job on the accent & the choice of words was very native and authentic. It was a good job, overall!

    • enquiring_mind says:

      You say that you wish that the “fun, flexible, creative, innovative, upbeat, optimistic” aspects were also promoted; most of those were. The main character was certainly upbeat throughout the entire commercial. In the boardroom scene when the boss gave the bad news the main character was optimistic, and his idea of going for a drive to generate smiles shows the fun side. A lot of positives were portrayed, in a short time.

      People will see what they are looking for. Charles Blow, Ricki Fairley-Brown, Rochelle Newman-Carrasco and especially Barbara Lippert seem to see racism because that is what they are looking for, not realizing that they express racist views when doing so. Characterizing our Jamaican accent as a “black accent” is an affront to every Jamaican regardless of ethnicity. Those critics seem to be over compensating to me, and need to take a good look within.

      Great ad, I enjoy it every time I watch it. And the main character nailed his accent better than any American I’ve ever heard. He didn’t say the incorrect “yeah mon” but instead got it right “yea mahn” with the emphasis in the right place.

      • You are right. The add did show these things, to an extent.

        But what I was trying to get at was to portray these attributes *without* the “stereotypical irie vibes Jamaica”. I mean I would like to see us being shown as fun…on its own; flexible…as its own thing, etc etc. and not conjoined with “irie & Laid-back”

        I think we can/should *expand* on our definition to include other aspects of our “fun, flexible, optimistic…” side. It doesn’t always have to be so blatantly intertwined with “irieness”

        I meant take a whole different spin on what “being Jamaican” is all about.

        • GG says:

          I have some questions, who are the persons saying the ad is racist because I see more people saying it’s compared to it being racist. Anyhow, to Diedre via Life, the JTB promotes the culture as such because it is a tourism ad, and we are getting people to come to relax. I do believe we are stereotyped,but it is our duty when we interact with persons to show them we so possess all the same qualities as any other nationality. We have the same stereotype in some parts of the international media, of total violence, when we know, it is not so.

    • Andi - Irie says:

      I agree with you to a point. However, a single ad cannot portray everything and the goal of the ad is not to advertise Jamaica. It is “stereotypical”, but what is that? its the fun, upbeat, easygoing, optimistic side of a Jamaican. He is trying to “lighten the mood” in what seems to be a very dismal corporate atmosphere filled with “stuffed shirts”. If the background to the ad is that he “got that” from his relationships/ visits to Jamaica, really, what is wrong with that?
      Is there an overture that he might be high on weed? maybe, who knows? if anyone believes that , you are feeding into the ignorant notion that we are “happy” because we are all “high’, when it is that we are just known for our gregarious attitude to life and a lot of visitors see that, love it and would like to adopt it, and can’t!!

      • There is nothing wrong with this ad. I like the ad. I love the fact that they chose Jamaica as a point of reference.

        When I said that I would like to see ads on/referencing Jamaica promote other areas of our “culture/personality” I was speaking in more general terms.

        Of course it’s a short ad, I’m simply saying that however great this ad is (which it is), it’s still another “irie jamaican” ad…it’s a great ad, they did a VERY good job at highlighting our “irie vibes” and the ad was very positive.

        I just think, however, that it’s time we add more layers to this image because Jamaicans are more than just “Irie”

        I think it’s high time we *actively* give the world more things (and info) to choose from on what makes Jamaica so great :)

  15. Bill says:

    Great interview Corve. Felt like I could sip a Red Stripe with Erik. He comes across as a genuine down to earth person. I would like to point out that in his first response he used the word “patois” which I believe is the key to the entire controversy. Jamaican patois is a dialect, and not an accent. If a Jamaican speaks the Queens English you would hear a true Jamaican accent. You would not hear any of the Irie type words.

    As a Jamaican living in the USA I did not find the AD offensive in the least and hopefully VW will air it on super bowl day. Jamaica’s tourism industry can only benefit.

  16. Eartha says:

    Great interview! Love the commerical watched it several times ….dont worry about a ting!

  17. Stephen Cheong says:

    Great interview, good to know that Erik has links with the Rock.
    I am a Jamaican of Chinese and German descent, I do not speak a word of Chinese or German and I’ve lived in the United States for several years so I can speak like a Yankee with a Jamaican accent or when I’m with my bredrin it’s all out patois. When I speak with my customers they ask where I’m from because of my accent and it’s not uncommon for them to ask incredulously “Jamaican”? Those that ask that question have never been to Jamiaca or experienced our peoples or culture. So it’s only the uninitiated that will ask that. What beats me though is what qualifies some of these people appearing as “experts” to be asked to comment on something they know nothing of. SMH
    Yeh mon, big up VW to, I still remember my first car, 1500 VW Bug.

  18. NaomiGarrick says:

    Good Job Corve! Some of our journalists should take a page out of your “blog”.

  19. Andi - Irie says:

    As a black Jamaican, living in Canada, am I racist when I mimic the accent of my Aussie, Indian, Polish, Irish co-workers?
    Are Canadians who ask me what it’s like to smoke weed and I tell them I haven’t the faintest clue racist?

    I bet those that see it as racist are those that are the least exposed…… cho! irie man!!! jus cool!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Andi-Irie.

      I agree with you on that point. Those fierce critics I see parading the media saying it is racist have no clue what the Jamaican culture is like or about. I think if you’re a Jamaican watching this ad, you will have a favourable view of it.

  20. StephyLumz says:

    Erik demonstrates the effect globalisation has on consolidating “six degrees of separation” to “3 degrees”. Who would’ve thought he has such strong ties to our island?

    I love that VW has helped to increase positive PR for Jamaica through the making and placement of the ads (Superbowl 2013?? W O W ! ! ! ) Jamaicans should relax and cultivate a sense of humour.

    Great post Corve!

    • Happy Jamaican says:

      And Stephy, with an ad being run during Super Bowl costing several millions for a 1 minute, or less, a slot… Jamaica will come out the winner not having to pay a cent for this type of publicity. VW will win as well… I predict several Jamaicans will own the new VW, a RED one too, along with many others in the USA and worldwide. I predict I’ll be one of them. I’ll drive down the road with a sticker on the center back that reads “Happy Jamaican”. LOV’IT LOL

  21. RoseydaDiva says:

    I LOVED the ad…it made me feel happy and I keep humming the song :) after reading the interview I love it even more and feel the need to ditch my Toyota Rav-4 and head down to ATL to get me a VW (a SUV though to handle our roads lol)…werse if it come wid a sticky bun lol…or even a sugar bun (wid cheese) lol…
    BTW I live in Kingston and all my friends LOVE this ad…

  22. Andre Swaby says:

    THE AD WAS AWESOME! It did its job, got our (Jamaica’s) attention and was quite humorous. I was not the least offended and am appalled that some are finding it offensive. I live in America now and am surrounded by Yankees, even tho I still speak in my native I also find myself rephrasing for want of better communication. But my fiancee… my fiancee is a fast learner so now I have to watch what I say cuz she understands and mimics me most of the time… even her accent is setting in! So I have full blown Patois (Patwah) conversations with her and she gets it (minus the maybe 20% of the time I have to rephrase). So I give the ad my full support, great positive exposure (outside of sports) and YEAH MON ERIK… GWAAN RUDIE!

  23. Andi - Irie says:

    I bet the VW marketing gurus are hard at work figuring out a way to further capitalize on the $B spend on Superbowl……. I hope the Jamaica Tourist Board is too!!!…… with VWs consent!!! lol I can almost see a JTB ad spin off now!

  24. Berletta says:

    A big boost to Brand Jamaica, in my opinion. The accent is clearly not authentic, but most of us in Jamaica are loving it!

  25. Kimmy says:

    Great interview. Please wish him all the best. Definitely did not understand the racism remarks.

  26. Jeff says:

    I’m a white New Yorker who lived in Jamaica for 20 years and, yes, I can speak with a Jamaican accent. In addition, there are thousands of white Jamaicans who can speak the dialect as well. Jamaicans come in all sizes, shapes and colors. The real stereotype is assuming all Jamaicans are the same color.

    As for the happiness, I would say that despite widespread poverty Jamaicans are an optimistic, proud, and cheerful people. My 20 years living there were certainly the happiest of my life.

  27. Yardie says:

    As an authentic Jamaican, big up to this commercial. The accent makes the commercial more humorous so it was a success in my eyes. Good job Eric!

  28. Don Tapper says:

    Erik, did a wikid jab… excuse me I meant an awesome job. Why not tell the rest of Jamaicans or everyone else to stop using ‘farein language’ and stick to unu native tongue. I here tib bits of our Jamaican language creeping in prime time news on several networks and no complaints there. Time and life too serious for us to bicker about funny little compliments.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Don.

      I have questioned Jamaican commercials for the lack of Jamaican patois in the commercials. There is a thinking that if you use the patois you cheapen the product or you will exclude a particular segment of the market. Now we have big big VW proving that it is possible. We need to believe in what we have and then spread that to the world.

  29. Sebastian Ogden says:

    Not sure if it’s good or bad the controversy this ad has caused. It’s a storm in a teacup, but the exposure VW has had from it is incredible. I am in advertising and only hope dream that one of my ads could get all this exposure.
    I am Jamaican (caucasian, in fact) and haven’t heard one Jamaican (black, white, indian, chinese) complain about this ad…they love it!!!
    I couldn’t be more proud to see that the stereotype of a man who speaks patois is a ‘happy and laid back’ man, and I am now dying to get in a Beetle to see if I can feel the same way.
    The way Jamaicans are looking at it is that the world views us as happy, laid back, don’t-give-a-damn people, but we know that we have problems…bad problems, but we always maintain a positive spirit.
    Kudos to all involved in this ad…apparently 90% of Americans wholly approve and 100% Jamaicans endorse it too.
    Now if we could only afford a VW. :o(
    (oops…turn that frown upside down!)
    :o)

  30. Sebastian Ogden says:

    Oh…we do use patois in Jamaican commercials. When and where it is used is a whole different story. You have my e-mail address…we can discuss offline.

  31. Leathon says:

    ….So who exactly thinks this add is racist or offensive?
    Every Jamaican, including me, abosolutely loves it!
    Here it is we have others recognizing the effect and influence of our cultural distinctiveness which has now emerged as an undeniable world brand.

    We sometimes feel like we lose control of it when others take it to places we Jamaicans have not yet been able to do……..but beneath that subtle insecurity is an emense feeling of pride when people from distant parts of the world embrace and emulate what we as Jamacans are and do.

    Respeck Bossman!

    Leathon Khan

  32. Carlene says:

    Great interview.
    Thanks to Winston and VW for promoting Jamaica. As a Jamaican who has watched this ad serveral times, I have found it to be humorous and creative. Winston did a great job with the patois and I also commend him for giving credit to his Jamaican connection.

    The ad was well received by us Jamaicans, I am yet to hear a negative comment from a Jamaican.
    One Love! Irie!

  33. Nichola says:

    I find the comments about this being racist extremely offensive!! I happen to be JAMAICAN and of the same hew as the main actor. I happen to have a thick Jamaican accent of which I am quite proud of…. the only people who would find the ad. itself racist are ignorant people who don’t have a clue that Jamaicans can be black, white, yellow or red. They can have dreads, they can live in “yards” they can also live in mansions, some drive bicycles, donkeys and bmw’s…. I’m looking forward to seeing it played over and over on Sunday – ONE LOVE!!!

  34. Great article. As a yawdy, ( Jamaican) smile with pride. I have often wondered why we are not as proud of our unique Patois (Patwah) as we should be. People all over the world are drawn to it, what to use and understand it…It’s one part of what makes Jamaica , Jamaica. I only wish more Jamaican companies would used clever Patios as part of the story telling language of their brands. The Everyday Jamaicans and lovers of Jamaica throughout the world are great advocates of brand JA and our patios, wouldn’t it be great to see corporate and Government Jamaican do the same.
    Eric did a great job. Compliments to VW and their Ad agency.

  35. Rachael says:

    I’m Jamaican and I LOVE it. I haven’t spoken to one jamaican who doesn’t.

  36. brian says:

    What the hell is the halabaloo is all about. Most Jamaicans of which I am one, don’t have a problem with this ad. Like we dont suffer with the racism of North America so it is alien to us unless we travel to those mostly white dominated countries. How can anyone understand the culture of Jamaica if they haven’t got a clue about us or what we are about, like the moon to them. Any way it is one nice rass ad. One love

  37. Stephen John says:

    Great Job Corve! In Acre Sitam Quis Occultabit! The Ad got me with the name WINSTON!!! real Jamaican name! As Jamaicans we mimic other nationals’ culture all the time! and as our Motto states “out of many one people!’ NO OFFENCE TAKEN!

  38. Kevin Steve says:

    As a person who is a black Jamaican and who is very quick on the draw in spotting racism when it rears it’s ugly head, I was taken aback when I heard the suggestion that this ad was racist.
    I’m very sceptical about the motives of these people who are crying foul. I live in Jamaica and I don’t hear Jamaicans complaining about it. As a matter of fact we all are fascinated by it….. Could it be a case of people feeling VW should not have given Jamaica that kind of attention??? Not too far fetched is it?

  39. lisakaye says:

    The ad is totally hilarious and in good taste. What flattery and excellent promotion for Jamaica. Listen up folks! There is no racism here. Just pure clean fun and flattery. Erik did a great job and he was admirable, even better now that I know he has ties to Jamaica. Well done! Kudos!

  40. As a Jamaican,artiste and ad exec, I just want to say, great interview Corve, and thank you VW, for producing one of the best commercials for Jamaica ever.

  41. Nina says:

    When I heard that people were taking offence to this ad I couldn’t help but wonder what the reaction would be to the Jamaicans on the north coast, especially in the tourist areas, who are forever ‘twangin’. Just want to say no offence taken, the ad isn’t racist. Wi use fi unnu accent all di while.

  42. KAY says:

    In this moment, with all that is happening in our country negatively ,the bad news and views, we need some humor and it is great to know that a company as grand as VW would think of Jamaica to be there focal point in their commercial. There is no bad in this, where is our sense
    of humor! I guess we have gotten use to our country not turning our frowns into a smile, no respect and nothing irie!

    I loved this commercial and interview, excellent job! It made me laugh!

  43. Sanieka says:

    I think the commercial is very funny. I love to hear other nationality imitates us but he should have said “Winston chill to bumboclath” now that would get me rolling

  44. Patrick Headlam says:

    There is an old saying “Mi nah spit, but yuh deh vomit”. I can’t understand why some non Jamaican journalist finds the ad offensive, while we Jamaicans are just rolling in laughter. Dem Winstan deh need fi jus CHILL. Was Jamaica not deemed to be the happiest nation in a recent survey? I love this ad!!

    Great interview Corve.

  45. Lois says:

    I am a Jamaican Volkswagen driver, when I first viewed the ad on Monday morning I almost fell off my chair, I thououghly enjoyed the ad and when it sunk in that my small island nation was the focus of a likely coveted Superbowl spot I was estatic! There is nothing racist about the ad it is just quite funny and will do wonders for our country…I love my country and I love my VW Passat!! Respec’ bossman!! ;)

  46. Tricia says:

    I am a born and bred yaardie (aka Jamaican:).

    I love this ad and its no where near racist. Its quite amusing really.

    All my JA friends and family love it too.

    Relax mon, relax!

  47. Shaun says:

    “Out Of Many, One People” dat mi sey ( thats my word) Most if not all of the popular cultures and races in this world are represented in Jamaica and speak the same way. My great grand dad on one side of the family is Irish and my great grand dad on the other side is Chinese. Why the fuss? You know you did a great job when people start hating. Born and bred in Jamaica and I love the commercial

  48. shelle parchment says:

    I love great job, for a mixed race Jamaican u did an awesome job…..next time u make sure u make it to Treasure Beach my hometown….awesome place

  49. Carolyn says:

    I have made my comments elsewhere and on VW America’s FB page. One thing I will say here is that: people too shocking idle and if half the energy we put in foolishness was directed to being positive then the world would be a better place… lighten up…rass man!

  50. Stacy says:

    I don’t get what all the fuss is about . Its seems to me the persons that are offended arent even Jamaican. I love this ad and FYI Jamaica is melting pot with different races and we ALL have that “Accent” ….. Much ado about Nothing !! Great job Erik and Big up to VW..

  51. Great interview, Corve! Gwaan same way!

  52. Marci says:

    First and foremost I am a Jamaican and I LOVE this Ad. Very funny, happy, positive vibes. There’s nothing racist about this Ad and we need to inform these people that we also have chinese, indian, caucasian, lebanese, jews, you name it. We are a melting pot and we all speak patois. This Ad also conveys the personality of the Jamaican people. We have our problems and there is a lot of poverty but at the end of the day we laugh, play and chill through it all. We persevere through the hardships with a smile, we play football, we play cricket, we play dominoes, we visit our families, friends, neighbours, run a boat, and have a good time. It’s what we do and what we know. It’s what makes us a great people despite our problems. Our people are resilient. We are able to laugh at ourselves for example, after Hurricane Gilbert, Lovindeer came out with the most creative, hilarious song that had the entire island rocking. It lightened the mood while we rebuild again. This island is a little island of sunshine that shines through its people. Therefore we are all proud that we are being recognised as a happy people. But I don’t think these people who are critizing this Ad realise this. They need to be given a history lesson and maybe they should visit Jamaica and learn first hand about its people. Big up Jamaica! Wi likkle but wi tallawah!! Now run wid di Ad mi fren!!

  53. Franz says:

    I don’t understand why a bunch of people (most of who aren’t even Jamaican, as far as I can tell) are making a big deal out of what I think is a seriously funny ad. I’m a Jamaican living in Jamaica & everyone I know who’s seen it loves it! Apparently some people have too much time on their hands. I can’t fathom where the comments about it being racially offensive get their basis from: the majority of Jamaicans may be black, but every real Jamaican knows that there are many of us who are Chinese, Caucasian, Indian… all kinds of ethnic backgrounds. We’re a melting pot of races. As a black Jamaican myself, I have Scottish (great grandparents) & Indian (grand father on my dad’s side) ancestry & have a load of white cousins, aunts & uncles. I guess some of the detractors would be in for quite a shock if they ever attended one of our family reunions & saw all the different races talking & cussing in patois. LOL! VW is a popular brand here as well, & a lot of us have fond memories of riding around in an old “bug”, or waiting in a school lunch line for the delivery of sugar buns or patties in the back of a T2. I can only speak definitively for myself & those around me, but from what I can see, the vast majority of us are more than cool with this ad. It’s flattering, if anything. Chill, Winstans :)

  54. Valerie Paget says:

    All Jamaicans that live abroad relish the moments that mek us smile and laff like dis ya ad. I think it’s hilarious and people still ask me to this day stereotypically things about Jamaica and I heducate them…..

  55. kMcDiva says:

    Very nice interview, Corve. Nothing racist about this ad. I’d like to find the “source” of the racial outrage. I suspect the creatives at the ad agency created that buzz themselves. Sex sells, but apparently so does faux-racism.

  56. Cecile says:

    Well done Corve. One more for brand Jamaica…great ad.

  57. Jamaipanese says:

    excellent interview Corve. Erik did a great job.

  58. Shaun says:

    http://youtu.be/AGvmgPpIsZ0 check out the CEO of sandals a white man born and bred in Jamaica. Out Of many One people

  59. Shelley says:

    Ok I have a couple of comments and they’re not directly connected to the ad per se. The first one is: we should really stop with this gross exaggeration of the “Out of Many, One People” motto. Jamaica may have been a truly blended society donkey years ago in my great, great, great grandmother’s day, but today the country is by and large 99.5% BLACK.

    The second point I’d like to make is that … why are we so reactive and apathetic when it comes to controlling our own narrative? Everyone’s saying that this ad is good publicity, Good Publicity! So we’d sell our souls for good publicity, is that it? Why wait for foreigners to “validate” us with so-called good publicity that has the potential to make people suspicious as this ad has done? For argument’s sake would we, as a people who are so hungry for foreign validation and publicity, even be in a position to see that the ad is racist? These are just a hypothetical questions, not saying the ad is racist (or not racist).

    Being Jamaican, born & bred, I think we have a long way to go in cultivating a healthy racial identity. Too many of us still look to Uncle Tom for hand outs in the form of validation and the proverbial pat on the back.

    Someone mentioned above that they don’t care if the ad is offensive or not, just as long as it brings tourists to the island. How utterly sad. That we have to have a hand in our own debasement to put food in our mouths. To my way of thinking, Jamaica doesn’t need the leftovers of big foreign companies with their own agendas (I doubt VW could care less about the survival of Jamaica and Jamaicans) to promote “Brand Jamaica” with “good publicity”. Jamaica has a lot going for her all by herself. Reduce crime and violence by 10% and our popularity and favourability in the global community would skyrocket.

    Also no offense to the young man who was interviewed. I’m sure he’s an upstanding citizen with plenty of black friends … and hey he even has a Jamaican in his family and visited the island some 10 odd years ago … but still, what does that prove? Absolutely nothing. You have many people who are so-called fans of Jamaica, but wouldn’t hesitate to bash us at their dinner table in a heartbeat.

    Sorry, I’ve seen it done too many times not be cynical.

    As usual though we cast eyes on and prioritize things that bring us absolutely no tangible benefits or progress in the long run. Shame.

    • karesa burrell says:

      Shelly honestly you need to learn more about jamaica and its history. “Out of many” is referring to the diversity of our background and has nothing to do with race. One people has to do with the unification of the people, Jamaicans.

      Good publicity because it is showing Jamaicans in a positive light in a gung-ho way, un
      Iike the arrogant, illiterate and ignorant persona you are portraying. “Free mental slavery!”

      Mek sure a u a run tings and yuh a yuh own boss, because this comment makes you unemployable. Any fool can have an opinion but we only care about arguments. Please focus your attention on gaining more knowledge before you speak. Yuh sound dark n fool fool!

      • Shelley says:

        Your foolish comment reveals you to be the turd that you are. Personally attack me, not my arguments, just because I expressed an opinion you don’t agree with? You’re a joke. Petty, small-minded and not worth my time.

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  61. Earl bailey says:

    Yardman! Love it.

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  63. karesa burrell says:

    THE PERSON THAT SAID THIS COMMERCIAL IS RACIST CANNOT BE A JAMAICAN AND IF THEY ARE THEY NEED TO TAKE A SEAT AND SECONDLY I AM SURE VW JAMAICA APPRECIATES THIS COMMERCIAL. I WAS LAUGHING MY ASS OFF WHEN IT SAW THIS

  64. karesa burrell says:

    And also the owner of VW Jamaica (aka Atl Autohaus)

  65. Randy says:

    OK, I’m not Jamaican but have been to Jamaica dozens of times and will go dozens more because I love the people and the culture. Never stay in the tourist hotels when I go, and always eat at local restaurants, and ALWAYS respect the people. For me, the commercial presents the positive, happy, free-thinking of the Jamaicans I have met. I think what people don’t get is this spot doesn’t mock Jamaicans; it mocks uptight corporate office dwellers who should just chill out and be happier. We can all learn something from our Jamaican friends. I loved the ad.

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  67. George says:

    Erik, you have captured the accent in an unbelievable way, I think the Ad is simply very great for VW and a very good reflection of my beloved Island. Yes we Jamaicans always enjoy life and I think that bothers those whose lives are totally wrapped around making money, they have no time to loosen up or even to enjoy the money thay make. We can teach them a few things, with or without money or wealth we know how to enjoy life, Take A leaf out our book, we HAVE NO TIME FOR RACISIM AND ALL THE STUFF.

  68. Michael Abrahams says:

    I am Jamaican and I absolutely LOVE the ad. As a matter of fact, I made my own version to poke fun at the people who have an issue with it:
    http://youtu.be/Vm7V9u6eYLE

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