Coca-Cola’s Multilingual Superbowl Ad Gets a Mixture of Reactions


Would America the Beautiful sung in either of the two Seminole languages, …or the language spoken by the Cherokee Nation have received the same reaction? Would they have been told to speak English or go home? That could be tricky!

Living here in what I thought was the land of linguistic silliness, namely the Canadian province of Quebec, I had to shake my head and chuckle at the reaction to Coca-Cola’s multilingual America the Beautiful Superbowl advertisement. If you haven’t seen it yet, the ad featured the iconic song being sung in several languages that one assumes represent the many languages spoken in homes across the nation. A warm and fuzzy feeling was supposed to lead to people of all linguistic backgrounds running out and buying Coke.

Wrong!

The reaction has been described as ugly, evoking calls of speak English or go home. It would appear that the use of languages other than English when singing America the Beautiful rubs many Americans the wrong way, even if many people speak those languages in their homes everyday, and are people who have never lived anywhere but the United States, yet want to maintain the language of their parents.

The song heaps praise on the United States. Is the heaping, when done in Spanish or Creole, any less praising?

In officially bilingual Canada there are certainly those who balk at the actual national anthem, O Canada,  being sung in both official languages.  Some even find it annoying when the anthem is sung in any of several aboriginal languages.

Would America the Beautiful sung in either of the two Seminole languages, or the  Iroquoian language spoken by the Cherokee Nation have received the same reaction? Would they have been told to speak English or go home? That could be tricky!

It should be interesting when the full 90-second version airs during the Sochi Olympics.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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