I know I am late to the party but it took a little bit of time to figure out my response to the negativity that surrounded the Coca-Cola Super Bowl 2014 Commercial. At first I wanted to write about the ignorance of the individuals who tweeted their disgraceful comments. However, that just made me angry and liable to say something I would regret. After mulling it over, I decided to write about how Coca-Cola got it right.
I am very familiar with “America the Beautiful.” My alma mater is Wellesley College and a Wellesley alumna, Katharine Lee Bates, authored the poem. It was a big part of my college experience so as I sat in my neighbor’s living room and heard the first few notes of the song, I thought it was pretty cool there was a commercial using it. Within five seconds, I stopped what I was doing when I realized the next few words were in Spanish. It took about 10 seconds for everyone in the room to realize that the commercial was in multiple languages. For the rest of the commercial, an immigrant and the children and grandchildren of immigrants from three countries sat in silence. They heard the language of their parents and grandparents during the Super Bowl.
While I don’t have a typical immigrant background, Coca-Cola’s commercial spoke to me. My grandmother and mother are not technically immigrants in that they came here from Puerto Rico and are citizens by birth, contrary to what Laura Ingraham would have you believe. However, both instilled a deep sense of pride in my Puerto Rican heritage AND American roots. Listening to the Coca-Cola Super Bowl 2014 commercial made me feel that same sense of pride.
That is why Coca-Cola’s commercial was pure genius. It played to the sense of belonging and patriotism that immigrants feel and want their children to feel when they make the decision to come to this country. In 2011, there were over 40 million immigrants and over 17 million children of immigrants in the U.S., not to mention the millions of Americans who are grandchildren of immigrants. Coca-Cola did not make this commercial without knowing these facts. It made a decision based on economics and it made total sense. This decision will reap rewards for them well into the future. They scored because I will always remember the first time I heard a commercial in multiple languages that just happened to air during the Super Bowl. You can’t get more mainstream than that.