Quotes of the day

These ad pros divided their top picks into two categories: A trio of ads expected to come out on top in the annual USA Today Ad Meter, and three personal favorites.

The only commercial to make both lists was Coca-Cola’s feel good anthem “America the Beautiful” sung in seven languages over scenes of Americans of different ethnicities spending time together…

“They’ve tried to do it in the past but it hasn’t worked because it was just a rerun,” said Bill McKendry… “This one broke new ground by having all the languages. It is celebrating what America is about at its core.”…

“I think they are loving this controversy because it extends the life of the ad,” McKendry said. “They are going to win because this generates debate and they are going to come out on the popular side.”


“‘It’s Beautiful’ was created to celebrate Coke moments among all Americans who together enjoy ice cold, refreshing Coke. For centuries America has opened its arms to people of many countries who have helped to build this great nation. ‘It’s Beautiful’ provides a snapshot of the real lives of Americans representing diverse ethnicities, religions, races and families, all found in the United States. All those featured in the ad are Americans and “America The Beautiful” was sung by bilingual American young women.

We believe ‘It’s Beautiful’ is a great example of the magic that makes our country so special, and a powerful message that spreads optimism, promotes inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to Coca-Cola.”


I am quite sure there may be some who appreciated the commercial, but Coca Cola missed the mark in my opinion. If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing “American the Beautiful” in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you?


The Coca Cola Super Bowl commercial featuring a rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages was also the first Super Bowl advertisement to feature a gay family.

The male couple and their daughter appeared about 45 seconds into the minute-long ad at a roller rink…

“Including a gay family in this ad is not only a step forward for the advertising industry, but a reflection of the growing majority of Americans from all walks of life who proudly support their LGBT friends, family and neighbors as integral parts of ‘America the Beautiful,’ GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

According to the LGBT organization, the ad will also air during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Coca-Cola is a sponsor of the games.


Now, here is my recommendation of what the Coca Cola marketing executives should have done. Coke’s “America the Beautiful” should have been sung in English and showed Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen of diverse races, sex, and creed deployed all over the world drinking Coca Cola. If you truly want to show a diverse commitment to service, sacrifice, and honor that enables us to live in “America the Beautiful” that would have been rated the best commercial advertisement of the Super Bowl. And we would be here talking about how we were all touched emotionally…

Commonality of language unites and enables the passing of a national character to subsequent generations and to all those who – legally — come to our shores.


Let’s calm down before we jump to hasty conclusions, people. Many people, including most of our ancestors, came to America speaking little to no English. Yes, most of them eventually learned English – something citizens of this country should do. There was nothing in the commercial that denounced that.

The U.S. is comprised of people from different countries, many who speak two, three or more languages. I only wish I could say that of myself.

The was was Americana at its most diverse and it showcased some of the nation’s most iconic scenes: the California coastline, New York streets, Arizona desert and more…

I don’t believe in open borders, free for all amnesty or changing America’s official language. That doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the country we are – with the thousands of languages spoken within our borders every day from sea to shining sea.


The xenophobic protesters had one thing right: we do speak English in America. We speak it on official business and in Super Bowl broadcasts; we use it in publications like this one.

But that’s not all we do. People like my immigrant mother and her immigrant sisters learn English as adults and raise their kids to speak it, and also speak French and Arabic at family get-togethers and on phone calls. We speak English in school and Spanish with grandparents and Spanglish with friends. We speak Creole and Chinese and Tagalog sitting down to family dinners–maybe with a bottle or two of Coke around the table, which is why Coke is smart to recognize this.

We come to America, in other words, and we become American–but we don’t erase everything else that we were before, we don’t forget our cultures and languages as if they never existed, and we don’t hide them as if they’re shameful or less than patriotic. We bring them out and share them, and they make this country better and stronger. America isn’t weakened because people don’t submit to a monoculture; it’s strong because it can absorb the peoples and aspirations and talents of the rest of the world without erasing their cultures.




But perhaps those of us who care about inequality and racism should be angry, too. Coca-Cola’s diversity ad wasn’t purposed just to celebrate the reality of a multi-ethnic America. It was to sell soda to rapidly-expanding but vulnerable populations, even if that means contributing to serious health problems, exploiting divides in class and education, and exacerbating racial inequality…

But that doesn’t mean we should be applauding soda companies, even if their ads tug at our heartstrings and our liberal values. It means consumers should have more affordable options, corporate advertising of unhealthy food should be regulated more tightly and Americans should be collectively enraged at our obscenely low wages and lack of a comprehensive social safety net – the things that create unhealthy, perverse incentives for consumers. It means we should cast a critical eye when soda companies fly the flag of diversity, when, in fact, their product contributes to stark racial inequalities.

Coke’s targeting of Latino and other immigrant populations is about as progressive as RJ Reynolds marketing menthol cigarettes to African-Americans or Phillip Morris hawking Virginia Slims to women – that is, not very. Before we applaud Coke’s advertising diversity, we should ask: do we really want Coke to diversify?


People being outraged about everything under the sun has been a theme on Twitter for a while. Media outlets hunting down the outrage and publicizing it as a relatively cheap way to score hits from people who like to be outraged about the outrage of other people followed not long after. For the Coca-Cola commercial, reaction tweets were posted at USA Today, E! Online, the Daily Mail, Talking Points Memo, Mediaite, and likely others…

“Man on the Street” pieces were never all that interesting or useful to begin with, but at least it involved an actual person in an actual place who chose to share his or her opinions to a reporter for our evaluation. This nearly contextless sharing of random angry tweets illuminates even less. But it’s good for stirring up a round of counteroutrage, isn’t it? And that counteroutrage at some anonymous, undefined number of people behaving badly on the Internet makes some others feel more superior, doesn’t it?…

I am outraged by how utterly pedestrian it is. This could have been a Levi’s ad five years ago. It could be advertising anything.