Newfoundland song used in derogatory fashion in Super Bowl ad for Vrbo, critics say

A vacation rental company has angered some in Newfoundland and Labrador who say it used a classic song from the province in a derogatory way in a recent advertisement.

Vrbo’s ad shows disappointed travellers discovering their vacation rental is overrun by squealing livestock, while the song “I’se the B’y” plays as background music.

The ad caused a stir on X, formerly Twitter, Sunday night during the Super Bowl, with some saying the classic Newfoundland song was used to connote something stereotypically rural and undesirable.

Andrew Taylor, a St. John’s-based history student, says associating one of Newfoundland’s more treasured songs with farm animals is “unfortunate and disgusting.”

Korona Brophy, artistic director for the Celtic Fiddlers group, said in a post on X the ad was disgraceful and disrespectful and she wondered if it constituted a slur.

The vacation rental company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.

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