Win, Fail or Racist? A Look at Super Bowl Commercials

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More than 111 million people tuned into the 2012 Super Bowl, the most-watched program in television history. The final numbers aren't in yet, but Super Bowl 2013 was expected to be another record-breaker.

The commercials that air during the game have become a huge part of the Super Bowl experience and companies pay top dollar to be included. CBS sold out its ad inventory for Super Bowl XLVII at prices averaging between $3.7 million and $3.8 million for each spot.

The commercials likely made some people laugh, some people cry — and undoubtedly left others infuriated. 

Take a look at the commercials below and see whether you think they're a win, a big fail or racist/sexist.


New York Times columnist Charles Blow said this Volkswagen ad is like "blackface with voices." But Jamaica's minister of tourism celebrated the commercial.

Go Daddy

The commercial, called "YourBigIdea.CO," encourages you to register a website for your big idea before someone else (i.e., the white guy) gets there first.

Taco Bell

The ad stars elderly folks having a wild night while a Spanish-language version of Fun's song "We Are Young" plays in the background. The commercial ends with Taco Bell's "Live Más" tagline.

Diet Coke

This commercial, titled "Gardener," features a man mowing the grass while Etta James' "I Just Want To Make Love To You" plays in the background. (And yes, the climax in this storyline is the climax you're thinking of.)


Get a new Mercedes and you'll get a free woman (Kate Upton) and a dance date with Usher.

Surprise! There's a second Jamaican-themed Volkswagen ad. This one actually includes a real Jamaican. Reggae musician Jimmy Cliff stars as black Jesus himself.

Jorge Rivas writes about race and pop culture at

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