Holmes: Coke advert supports equal opportunities

Shannon Holmes

For some, the Super Bowl is all about the football. It’s about the Seahawks pounding the Broncos into the ground and commercials are for getting up and getting more food. For others, the time to get the food is during the game, and the commercials are there for pure entertainment. That’s what they have been looking forward to all football season. This year there were plenty of thought-out, funny or just plain, “eh,” advertisements played during the Super Bowl. One that spiked quite a bit of controversy, even though the complaints weren’t needed, was the Coca-Cola commercial where ‘America the Beautiful,’ was sang in multiple languages.

For those who didn’t catch the game, and who just did not care, the Coca-Cola commercial was one minute long. Which equals to about six million dollars worth of advertisement. Throughout this minute, there were scenes of families from around the country, while ‘America the Beautiful,’ was sang in many voices in the background. Here’s the kicker: not all of it was in English. This version featured sections, or verses, in English, Spanish, Hindi, Krese, Tagalong, French and Hebrew throughout the patriotic song. As an avid Twitter stalker, I instantly searched #coke and was not disappointed with the result, (or rather I was disappointed with the responses).

There were many tweets praising Coca-Cola for their commercial, but most were washed away with the insensitive, and borderline racist, behavior of the “citizens,” of America. Many tweeters stated how English was “our,” language, and how we were in America, we needed to speak English. There were slights against some of the races portrayed throughout the commercial, and even the ever so classy, trending hashtag “#f***coke.” I’m sorry, but since when does America mean white and English? I’m Irish and I’m American. The girls I sit next to in Econ are Chilean and Canadian, and they’re American. My friend is Korean, and has lived in the U.S. most of his life and he’s American. At some point in everyone’s family line, unless you are of American Indian decent, one ancestor immigrated across the border, probably not with English as their first language and you’re still American.

We should be ashamed. I’m ashamed to be a white woman living in Iowa. The, dare I say, stereotypical American. Coke was portraying our country for what it is. A melting pot. That phrase has been pounded into our heads since we were in elementary school. You don’t judge others on how light or dark their skin is, because everyone is different. There are laws against this. Equal opportunity rights.

Coke has always rooted for the “underdog.” For example. in the 1920s, Coke started to show women drinking coke, while attending social events, going to work and many other things that, before then, were still coming out of the shadows. Coke was one of the first companies to be brave enough to show women standing up for themselves outside of the kitchen. Another example of is in 1955, Mary Alexander was the first African American to appear in a Coca-Cola advertisement, and really the first to appear in any kind of commercial. There was a huge uproar from the white community until, finally, they calmed down to realize how idiotic they sounded. It was ground-breaking. Finally people realized that everyone was the same.

Imagine moving to this country of praise. The country where everyone wants to live, eat, and work. Where you are free. Imagine coming here and starting to learn English, but English is hard, so sometimes you have to revert to your native tongue. You get the opportunity to experience this thing that is really big in the States: the Super Bowl. While watching, you see this commercial for Coke, which is also in your country, and you hear your language and feel like you belong. Isn’t that what we, as Americans, are all about? Having pride in our country, welcoming new people, and being that melting pot that is so internationally known? Not the shameful, racist, twitter filled, atmosphere we are providing.

Those that were against the ad, did have some points. Not those who were ignorant, those who took the time to sit and organize their thoughts. First, it was only about making money. Well, yeah. What else is advertising for? Please tell me an advertisement where the company was not trying to make money. Make sure to recognize the fact that Public Announcements and advertisements are two different things. Second, the ad shows a lesbian couple. So what? I’m not going to get into it now, but they’re just reaching for things to complain about. Homosexuality is a whole new topic and the couple was shown for three seconds, tops. Third, Coke used an American song and sung it in “terrorist,” language. So, apparently, anyone not American, and not speaking English is a terrorist. That’s going a bit overboard as well.

Coca-Cola brought up many controversial ideas throughout one minute. They were not saying that English should not be our official language, they were bringing notice to the diversity throughout our country. By rooting for the underdog, they focused the ad towards the less known American citizens, rather than the rest of the country. Times change, and eventually, I hope that our country will mature within itself and will see what the real meaning behind that ad was. English or not, we are a community that prides ourselves in our diversity.