TODAY   |  January 29, 2013

Is new Volkswagen ad funny or offensive?

The commercial, featuring people speaking in fake Jamaican accents, has been earning harsh criticism. Barbara Lippert of MediaPost.com calls it “racist” and says she doubts it will air during the Super Bowl amid the controversy.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we'll begin this half hour with that new super bowl ad from volkswagen .

>> and the car company has had, of course, big hits during the big game in recent years. this year's "get happy" spot is already getting a lot of attention.

>> i hate mondays.

>> yeah. they're the worst.

>> no worries, man. everything will be all right. yeah, man. don't fret. sticky bun comes soon. yeah. wicked coffee, mr. james. julia, turn the frown the other way around.

>> you're from minnesota, right?

>> yes, the land of 10,000 lakes . the gopher state .

>> so in conclusion, things are pretty dismal.

>> do you know what this room needs? a smile. who wants to come with i? traveling along there's a song that we're singing come on get happy yeah

>> you are three minutes late.

>> don't be no cloud on a sunny day .

>> yeah, chill.

>> sir?

>> that's the power of german engineering.

>> and, by the way, from volkswagen 's marketing, officer tim mahoney said we obviously did our homework to make sure we weren't offensive, we did some research to make sure we weren't going in a direction we didn't want to go and volkswagen had consulted about 100 jamaicans and hired a speech coach.

>> some think the ad is funny and effective, others think it is a little offensive. another network executive said i don't like it at all. it's like black face with voices.

>> barbara lipman. first reaction when you see the ad?

>> i was shocked. didn't anyone look at this? this is so racist. there's no link to volkswagen . and maybe jamaicans didn't find it offensive, but it's just saying that black people are happy.

>> i take a completely different view of it. i have to be honest with you. i thought if you buy this car, it puts you in a happy place and what's happier than all the memories we have on being on beautiful islands on island time? that's the way i took it.

>> some people said it had that jar jar banks from star wars effect, it doesn't make any sense.

>> my son graduated from college. he thought it was hilarious, cool runnings , to put that voice in stern minnesotans.

>> the ad agency , i guess, anticipating that there may be controversy, has a couple of other back-up options in case vw pulls the ad. sometimes controversy is good for a company.

>> right.

>> is this the kind of controversy that you think --

>> this is where social media saved their lives. i would bet that they're going to run the other ad. last time, it was fantastic, ate up the internet, most popular ad ever. this one is clearly a mistake in judgment. they'll have another really funny ad that they're going to tell you this was just a teaser and they love the other one.

>> they have german accents. you will enjoy it!

>> the teaser was wonderful. it just showed people in a parody of the coke ad running up in the mountains, being happy. it was all the people famous from the internet.

>> if you are you're a betting woman, you say that ad will never see the light of day on the super bowl ?

>> that's what i will bet.

>> i'm officially neutral.

>> switzerland!

>> switzerland.

>> controversy, i think, sometimes can be good.

>> barbara, thank you. appreciate it. so what do you think? does the jamaican flavor of this ad go too far? go to today.com and give us your opinion. we'll tell you what our polling has to say.