Guest Post by: Kevin Clancy, student
Just when you think the world is moving in the right direction, something as simple as a commercial comes along and shatters your thoughts. This past weekend marked the 48th viewing of the NFL Super Bowl, which is considered by many Americans to be a national holiday. Apart from being the pinnacle of sporting events in American society, the Super Bowl acts as the marquee event for advertising as well. Because so many Americans tune into the program, advertisements can cost upwards of 5 million dollars to run and often feature famous celebrities and non-traditional storylines. Although most companies stick to funny skits or epic visuals, many companies use the opportunity to take a different path.
This years Super Bowl started off with a relatively uneventful collection of advertisements. Yet, interspersed between the epic car advertisements and many, might I ad MANY, lackluster attempts at slapstick comedy, were a few commercials that chose the less beaten path and challenged viewers to think deeper. One such commercial put out by Coca-Cola involved one the nations most beloved hymns, “America The Beautiful”. Now I know what you are thinking, “Oh great, another America’s the greatest country in the world chest thump”…wrong. The ad starts with a lone woman singing the first lines of the song set to a background of American esc. things. Yet, once the second stanza begins, we as viewers are shocked to learn that the next singer belts out the words of the song in Spanish. This change of language becomes a common theme throughout the commercial as a total of seven different languages are represented in the song by the end.
As the commercial finished, I took the time to reflect upon the message. Coke, being a global brand, has always pushed for acceptance of diversity and is no stranger to advertising with different languages. I feel the ad was meant to show the unity of this country and display the work that Coca-Cola has done to bring us as a society, closer together. At the time, I really thought nothing of the commercial and simply continued to watch the game. However, while perusing twitter after the game, I found that many people could not shake the commercial and somehow felt disrespected by its message.
I personally think it is ridiculous for an American to become upset over coke’s advertisement. We live in a country that is considered by its people to be “the melting pot” of cultures. Furthermore, people soon forget that their very grandparents lived in a babel esc. society no more than 100 years ago as immigrants of all different backgrounds and languages struggled to make it in a new world of opportunity. Singing an inherently “American” song in different languages is in my opinion, as American as it gets. We should be proud of our multi-lingual country and all who call it home.