Last Sunday was the first time I ever experienced “Superbowl Sunday” in my life. As an international student, I felt that I had to experience it at some point because it is a big part of American life and tradition, at least to those that I have met here. Apart from wanting to immerse myself in American culture, I had to watch the advertisements for my Public Relations class and had to pay attention to people’s responses after they were aired.
I noticed that in the many advertisements that I watched, there were a few that caught my attention in a really good way. The example that I am going to focus on is Coca Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” ad. From my perspective, I definitely thought it was a beautiful ad that was well done and promoted a sense of diversity, yet the responses from people on Twitter really took me by surprise and made me, once again, take good look at the kind of ignorance that exists in the world. I say again because this is not the first time that I’ve seen these kinds of responses. I thought back to the time when Indian-American Nina Davuluri was crowned for Miss America 2013. The fact that she won sparked a lot of controversy because she was of indian-descent and not “American” enough. (More on that story can be found at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/16/showbiz/miss-america-racist-reactions/)
Coca Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” ad consisted of the song “America the Beautiful” sung in eight different languages, while featuring people and families of different ethnicities. It sort of reminded me of the video that is played at Passport Control in American airports, where they have people from different ethnicities saying “Welcome” in their own language.
So if some of you have still not seen it, here it is:
I don’t know if many of you noticed this but as soon as I logged into Facebook, a lot of people were sharing a Buzzfeed article that was a compilation of screenshots of people’s responses on Twitter. As described in the Buzzfeed post, I went on Twitter it came to my attention that #SpeakAmerican was actually trending. Some people threw the words “terrorist” and Coke being a “communist” in their comments, but what stood out most is people’s response to the fact that the ad was muti-lingual.
Looking at this really saddened me, but looking back I wasn’t really surprised. We live in a world where there are certain individuals that cannot accept new ideas, and unfortunately not everyone is open to the idea of diversity. The ad was supposed to promote diversity, especially with the presentation of people from different races and the different languages sung, but it ended up triggering racist attitudes toward the ad, which is very unfortunate. People even failed to notice that there was a gay couple in the ad, which is a huge step in our society, and were so blocked by their own ignorance and rejection of other cultures instead.
Broderick, R. (2014, February 03) Coca-cola’s multilingual super bowl ad inspired a complete meltdown online [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/coca-colas-multi-lingual-super-bowl-ad-inspired-a-racist-mel
Lee, J. (2014, February 04). Coca-cola super bowl ad: Can you believe this reaction?. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/02/03/coca-cola-ad-super-bowl-racism/5177463/