The Coca-Cola ad that aired during this year’s Superbowl sparked a lot of controversy, given that its soundtrack is “America the Beautiful” sung in several different languages. While many people lashed out against the ad, arguing that we speak English in America, Coca Cola had the right idea in its marketing strategy at least. Being one of the most global brands in existence, Coca Cola knows that America is not full of one type of American stereotype – this is a country full of many different types of people, with countless different races and ethnicities. People immigrate to this country from all over the world, and when they do, they move here and become Americans, but they do not let go of their heritage and cultural traditions, one of those being language. Coca Cola was smart enough to recognize that around any given table in America, there is bound to sit a multi-lingual or multi-cultural family, or group of friends. They appealed to everyone in America, not just to “true Americans.”
Coca Cola is a sign all over the world for bringing people together. The brand is all about the message that everyone is one and one is everybody. The Coke bottles and caps in the advertisement signify not just the American spirit, but the global spirit. From the brand that brought us “I’d like to teach the world to sing,” we can connote the meaning that the brand wants to bring us all together, and does so by using a smile and a Coke. They even said so in 1979 when their slogan was “have a Coke and a smile.”
The brand itself is not the only sign in the advertisement. Another is the song, “America the Beautiful.” This contributes to the feeling of bringing us all together by centering the ad around America. When we hear this song in this country, we associate with it feelings of patriotism and a sense of duty towards our country. In the ad, this works to connect being a good American with purchasing Coca Cola products. This is an ideological concept that Goldman and Papson describe as the logic of capital. The logic here is that if you drink Coke, not only will you be part of the “one,” you will also be doing your duty as an American consumer.
Coke’s “It’s Beautiful” ad also interpellates us as viewers. Interpellation is the idea that ideologies hail us through outlets such as social media. Coke has used interpellation since its beginning, since it has always revolved around the idea that we are all one. One example is its 1986 slogan: “Red, White & You” for Coca Cola Classic. Its contemporary example of interpellation is that the advertisement signals us to conform to the ideology that we are all one, and that America is full of many different types of people who come together through the product itself. The ad calls to us as individuals, helping us to relate to it and therefore to the ideology that it represents. Goldman and Papson also described two other ideological concepts that are present in this Coca Cola ad. One is that the advertisement constructs the world around us and says that this is what it should look like. In “It’s Beautiful,” Coke constructs America as a melting pot of countless different kinds of people and then constructs it as a world where we all come together despite our differences. However, the ad also disguises certain injustices and inequalities. Many of the races depicted in the advertisement are treated as minorities on a daily basis here in America. You would never have thought that had you just seen the advertisement with no background information, given that so many different people were depicted equally in different American locations, while “America the Beautiful” played in the background in different languages.
Finally, this ad is clearly one from after the Creative Revolution. One aspect that makes this a mark of the legacy of the Creative Revolution is that it represents the idea that there is more than one way of life. Before the Creative Revolution, conforming was considered the ideal, in the time when keeping up with the Joneses was the most important accomplishment one could achieve. Frank describes the new attitude that arrived during the Creative Revolution as one that valued individuality above all. He says that the advertising that appeared during this time period appealed to the fact that people no longer wanted to conform – they wanted to be unique. Coke’s ad appeals to being individual and shows that, yes, you can still be part of the group when you are being yourself. America is made up of many individuals who come together as one under this uniting product.