The Super Hangover continues in Seattle. We've all settled back into work or school now after we exhausted ourselves celebrating our Seahawks, that is until tomorrow when many will pack 4th ave to cheer this great team on in person. For all the fun that the game itself was, there are two commercials have stayed with me longer than the euphoria of watching our team win the Superbowl.
Both of these commercials came up in my social media conversations as they were happening and the next day. The first was the Chrysler spot that talked about how America does cars, Asians do technology, Germans do beer, etc. Immediately I thought this was one of the most disturbing commercials I've ever seen. It is both ignoring the complexity of the current American and global economy. And it was deeply racist in it's assumptions of other cultures and societies.
But the one that disturbed me even more was the Coca Cola spot with another deeply resonant icon of our country, a song. However this song, America the Beautiful, was sung in a variety of languages with images of faces representing the variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds that make up this country and is a reflection of the global impact of CocaCola. In many ways, this commercial was the antithesis of Chrysler's misguided campaign.
Personally, I found the commercial to be quite beautiful. I thought the commercial was courageous and was a step closer to a more honest narrative of where this country is right now and where it is going. What was disturbing in the moment was that I knew in my gut there was going to be a huge backlash. I could hear voices from my hometowns in Ohio voicing, "If you're in our country, speak our language," or "how can they just speak their own language when I can't understand what they're saying."
If you're not aware of the backlash google or go to twitter and type in #Cokecommercial
As I walk the streets of Lake City and get to know this beautiful neighborhood, I hear these beautiful voices. The Asian dialects, the Mediterranean dialects, the Middle Eastern dialects, the African dialects, the German dialect, or the Fijian's who worship at George every Sunday. I see the faces of people walking the streets and waiting at the bus stops that do not look like my own and my heart softens. We don't need to fear what we don't know. We don't need to fear the other. The backlash against CocaCola says a lot about some places in our country. But honestly, anyone could spend a day in Lake City and shoot a commercial just like that one. And it would be beautiful.