Does Coca-Cola Deserve Flack for Their Super Bowl Commercial?
Coca-Cola's multilingual Super Bowl commercial seems to be catching some flack around the country. Do they really deserve it?
Last Sunday, Critter and I gathered at his place for a nachos and little smokey Super Bowl feast. As it was just about the worst pro-level game of any sport we'd ever seen, we weren't really paying attention to the game... but being the radio guys we are, we were cued in on the commercials.
There were a mix of good, bad, terrible, and awesome commercials. My personal pick was the Radio Shack "80's Taking Back Their Store"... It was a hilariously brilliant trip down Memory Lane. Budweiser had a good one too, but since it played at the 2-minute warning, I can't imagine anyone actually saw it live.
The commercial that really peaked our interest, and led us down a path of discussion was Coca-Cola's "It's Beautiful" A :60 commercial in which "America the Beautiful" was sung in different languages throughout. It was a Kelso and Critter heart to heart discussion that lasted about two minutes. There was no perceived message or hidden agenda talked about, just about how it was a very well produced commercial.
Personally, I thought it was beautiful. I saw it as the worlds biggest brand celebrating something completely unique to our country. The one aspect that separates the United States from every other country... The fact that the United States is every country.
I bet if you had enough time on your hands, you could find every country in the world listed in our last national census. That's what makes us "us." The U.S. is a melting pot of worldly traditions, heritage, and customs. Besides that, as a country, we're better than that.
Yes, there are those out there that immediately took to social media saying that they'll "Never drink Coke again" and that "This is America, speak English"... and that's OK. Every American is completely, unequivocally, 100% entitled to their opinion. I'll fight to the death defending your right to have that opinion... but it strikes me as strange.
I grew up everywhere around this country. I was exposed to a lot of different cultures throughout the years. Living on the bayou in Louisiana, I don't remember anyone trying to strike out the French languages. In South Texas, it was normal to order McDonald's in broken Spanish. When I was a kid, our neighbors first language was Hindi. Hell, in Hawaii, speaking Pigeon was expected. It didn't slow us down one bit.
Look around Lawton, how many different cultures and worldly influences can you see? At any given moment, you can eat and enjoy just about any culture from around the world within a few miles of your home. This is the thing that makes America so awesome.
On the flip side, I don't think it's at all fair or appropriate to go "Full MSNBC" on people and start throwing around titles like "racist" and "bigot." I don't think the "Speak English" crowd quite qualifies for that. At least not the bulk of the crowd...
Let me tell you the story of a gal I know. She was born a first-generation American to parents that immigrated from Germany. She's in the "Speak English" crowd too, but she has a damn good argument for her feelings.
You see, in her house, her family spoke their native German. Completely understandable. She went on to tell me that her parents spoke English outside the home. That it was a privilege to speak English as they became Americans.
You see, there's nothing racist or bigoted about that. Don't be the person that pulls the race card. There's no need. We're better than this.
The point being this. I've come to realize in my thirty-something years... This isn't my country. This isn't your country. This is our country. We are a co-op of people living and working together, just trying to do our best and make it on our own. Collectively, we are America.